Sadiq Khan: "Surge" policing as London faces worst year of teenage killings since 2008

18 June 2021, 12:05

Sadiq Khan on policing and knife crime in London

Ewan Quayle

By Ewan Quayle

Sadiq Khan has told LBC more police will be deployed across London this summer after warnings the capital is heading for its worst year of teenage killings in over a decade.

The London Mayor said the city will see a combination of strong police presence and events for young people in areas hit hardest by violent crime.

He said: "Across this summer, Londoners will see a greater police presence across our city - particularly in areas where there's been a history of violent crime.

EXCLUSIVE: LBC investigation finds county lines gangs exploiting children as young as eight

READ MORE: London 'on track' for worst year of teenage killings, Met warns

"You'll be seeing surge activity in those areas and at the same time, the good news is we're going to be giving young people even more constructive things to do to keep them busy during the summer.

"Sports education, culture during the daytime, events during the weekend, funding youth workers to work with young people, because there's no point us complaining when idle hands get up to no good.

"We're going to have to give idle hands constructive things to do."

Sadiq Khan told LBC there will be a stronger police presence in areas of London hit hardest by knife crime
Sadiq Khan told LBC there will be a stronger police presence in areas of London hit hardest by knife crime. Picture: LBC

At a press conference on Thursday, the Metropolitan Police warned that London is "on track" for its worst year of teenage killings in more than a decade if current trends in violence continue.

A total of 17 teenagers have been killed in the capital this year, with 15 having been killed with a knife - more than 2020.

Gun and knife crime could lead to the highest amount of deaths among young people in London since 2008, when 28 were killed, the force warned.

READ MORE: Poor policing leads to public feeling 'over policed and under-protected'

The warning has come despite serious violent offences falling by 22% and the overall murder rate being lower than last year.

Recent tragedies include Taylor Cox, who was shot in the head in Islington on June 8, and Denardo Samuels-Brooks, 17, who was stabbed to death in Streatham two days later.

Mothers relive heartbreaking calls made after the deaths of their sons

But critics of the force's tactics to reduce violent crime, such as stop and search, say community relations with the police in many London boroughs is at an all time low.

Questioned on diversity in the Met, Mayor Khan told an LBC caller he is working with the force to recruit "more diverse Londoners", as well as working to retain and promote them.

"We're keen to make sure we don't just recruit but we retain them and they progress up the ranks of the police service," he said.

He also encouraged listeners to take part in the Hard Calls Save Lives campaign - launched in April and supported by Crimestoppers and the Met - which encourages people to anonymously report their relatives if they suspect them of carrying a knife in public.

Mayor Khan said: "If somebody in your family is leaving home with a dangerous instrument, please let us know, because that makes them more safe taken off them rather than less safe."