Sadiq Khan challenged over ‘shocking’ record on policing in London as Mayoral rivals say people ‘do not feel safe’

23 April 2024, 18:18 | Updated: 23 April 2024, 18:46

Watch Again: LBC's London mayoral candidate debate

By Emma Soteriou

Sadiq Khan has defended his approach to policing in London despite recent criticism of Sir Mark Rowley and the Met's handling of 'hate crimes' and divisive protests.

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Mr Khan said he believed the Met police service is ahead of other police services and that Sir Mark is making "remarkable progress".

"He's got a new Met plan which is a journey to win back the trust and confidence of Londoners," he said.

He went on to say: "We are being tough on crime, supporting the police and tough on the complex causes of crime.

"That’s why homicides are down, gun crime is down, knife injury for those under 25 is down and burglaries are down."

But Conservative mayoral candidate Susan Hall argued that: “London is in a very serious situation and we’ve got to make sure we recuperate the situation".

She said people “cannot see their local police” as she defended a Daily Express article where she described London as being “under seige”.

Mr Khan responded: “We’re not watching The Wire.”

“Londoners do not feel safe," Ms Hall said. "There’s a phone stolen every six minutes in London. You tell that to people who can’t wear their watches in London.

“I was told by people running the night-time economy that they are concerned because there are gangs running through the streets.”

Read more: ‘No such thing as a free lunch’: Susan Hall and Sadiq Khan clash over free school meals at LBC Mayoral debate

Read more: Susan Hall dismisses as 'nonsense’ after Ed Miliband said she would be an ‘embarrassment’ as London Mayor

When asked who had confidence in the Met commissioner, all candidates raised their hands.

It comes as Sir Mark Rowley is facing calls to quit - including from the former Home Secretary, Suella Braverman - after a botched apology from the Met over the treatment an "openly Jewish man" who was trying to cross a road during a pro-Palestine march.

The Met Chief met with Mr Khan to discuss "community relations" following the incident, as well as speaking with organisations including the Board of Deputies of British Jews, the London Jewish Forum and the Community Safety Trust.

Khan on Hall: 'She is the most dangerous candidate I have ever faced'

The Green party's Zoe Garbett said: “Young people need to be able to see a future in our city.

"We need to give young people hope and we need to create and support youth services and youth workers to make sure they are really thriving in our city."

Addressing London being a 24-hour city, Mr Khan said: "Businesses have struggled as a combination of the pandemic, rents going up, but also businesses can’t get labour.

“They can’t pay the business rates, they can’t pay their rents.”

He refused to be drawn on the "usefulness" of London’s night £120,000-a-year Night Czar Amy Lame.

Lib Dem Rob Blackie said London needs someone who "takes the job seriously".