Sadiq Khan blames London's rise in violent crime on longer days, school holidays and the heatwave

18 August 2022, 12:49 | Updated: 18 August 2022, 14:26

Sadiq Khan blames longer days, school holidays and heatwaves for rising London crime

By Daisy Stephens

Sadiq Khan has suggested London's recent wave of violent crime is the result of longer days, the school holidays and the recent heatwave.

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Speaking to LBC, the Mayor of London was asked about the string of stabbings and shootings seen across London in the past week, most recently the fatal stabbing of 87-year-old musician Thomas O'Halloran in Greenford.

"We have seen over the last few days, the last week, a number of awful homicides," he said.

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"I'm afraid this summer we are seeing what we feared which is an increase in violent crime... there are longer daylight hours, school holidays, a heatwave and so forth.

"We are working with the police to suppress that violence."

He said a number of things were being done to tackle the trend, including "supporting communities by giving young people constructive things to do so they're kept busy this summer".

The UK, including London, has seen extreme heat in recent weeks, resulting in droughts up and down the country
The UK, including London, has seen extreme heat in recent weeks, resulting in droughts up and down the country. Picture: Alamy

Mr Khan said he did not "have the vocabulary to describe how shocking and horrific" the attack on Mr O'Halloran was.

The grandfather was stabbed in the street on Tuesday while riding his mobility scooter, and died at the scene.

The Met police said on Thursday a 44-year-old man had been arrested on suspicion of murder, but is still urging anyone with information or video footage to come forward.

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Mr Khan echoed the plea, telling LBC: "If anybody was driving on the A40, eastbound in particular, who may have had a dashcam or a cycle helmet camera, can you please look at your recordings to see if you saw anything relevant."

The attack on Mr O'Halloran is the latest in a spate of violent crimes across the capital over the past week.

Sadiq Khan tries to reassure Londoners over rising crime

Recent violent attacks in London:

  • Thomas O'Halloran, 87, stabbed to death in Greenford. A man was arrested on suspicion of murder.
  • A triple shooting in Brent on Monday left a 17-year-old boy, a 21-year-old man and a man in his 20s injured, two seriously. There have not been any arrests yet.
  • A stabbing in a restaurant near Oxford Street on Monday left a man dead. Police arrested a man at the scene and charged him with murder.
  • A stabbing in Ealing on Monday saw 58-year-old Aziza Bennis killed. Hanna Bennis, 21, was arrested and charged with murder.
  • A man died in Lewisham on Sunday. Sonny Booty, 36, was found dead in a residential property. A 53-year-old man was charged with murder.
  • A 60-year-old man died in Dagenham on Sunday. A 23-year-old man has been charged with murder.
  • A shooting in Walthamstow left a 25-year-old man dead on Saturday. No arrests have been made.
  • A stabbing in east London left a man injured. He was found with stab injuries and shots were also fired in Bohemia Place. More shots were fired nearby around an hour later, but no one else was injured. No arrests have been made.
The scene in Greenford where an 87-year-old man was stabbed on Tuesday
The scene in Greenford where an 87-year-old man was stabbed on Tuesday. Picture: Alamy

The Conservatives have hit out at Mr Khan and accused him of not taking sufficient action to tackle violent crime in the capital.

Education secretary James Cleverly told LBC the Mayor was "asleep at the wheel".

"I cannot express how angry I am about the situation with regard to violent crime in London," he told Nick Ferrari at Breakfast on Thursday.

"When Boris was Mayor of London, when I was working with Kit Malthouse, we cracked down really, really, really hard on violent crime and it came down.

"It looks like the current Mayor has been asleep at the wheel, those numbers are heading in the wrong direction and he really does need to get a grip of it."

Cleverly: The Mayor has been asleep at the wheel on violent crime

But Mr Khan said progress was being made in tackling violence in London, although he conceded it was "no consolation" to bereaved families or victims.

"It's no consolation to those bereaved families that there have been arrests and charges," he said.

"It's no consolation to bereaved families and victims of crime to know that we've seen a big reduction in knife crime, gun crime, teenage homicides and so forth."

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He said he could understand "why Londoners are feeling worried and feeling frightened" but said everyone needed to "be the eyes and ears of the police".

"The police are working incredibly hard to suppress violence," he said.

"If you see anything that's suspicious, report it."

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