In this article, Katherine Dew- Moor argues that Khan must stop his virtue signalling and instead build cross-party support for action against serious violence.
At the time of writing this piece, 123 homicides, that is, cases of murder and manslaughter including 70 fatal stabbings and 14 shootings, have been committed on London’s streets. We are witnessing a crisis that London’s Mayor, Sadiq Khan, has utterly failed to respond to. The causes of crime and its discourses are complicated, granted, and whilst the Government must examine and respond to these, urgent action must be taken to stop more innocent people losing their lives.
Police and community groups have been running a key campaign to make it clear that young people are not safer with a knife; with social media key in driving this message, #knifefree. Furthermore charities are working in trauma departments across London hospitals to support and counsel knife and violence victims admitted that they can choose a different path when they leave hospital. These are all crucial measures, but I strongly feel immediate action is needed, which the Government is doing with the introduction of the Offensive Weapons Bill.
On the 28th November, the Offensive Weapons Bill passed its third reading, and the Home Secretary has welcomed the cross-party support from MPs on such an important issue. This Bill is vital and life-saving, as parts of the Bill would seek to legislate new offences of possessing a corrosive substance in a public place. Furthermore, the Bill aims to introduce a new offence of selling certain harmful corrosive products to under 18s and new restrictions on online sales of bladed articles and corrosive products. This includes restrictions on deliveries to residential premises. Despite having some of the toughest laws in the world relating to the sales of weapons, they are still getting into young people’s hands and it’s only the Conservatives taking practical action to stop this.
The Offensive Weapons Bill forms part of the Government's wider £40 million ‘Serious Violence Strategy’ to tackle the recent rise in serious crime. The strategy was published earlier this year and seeks to tackle the deadly cycle of violence that devastates the lives of individuals, families and communities. Khan is not producing any practical solutions to this epidemic on our London streets. Shaun Bailey, the Conservative candidate for London Mayor put forward a costed plan for 1,000 more police, and from my understanding, it’s been 100 days since this proposal, with no formal reply from Khan.
Unfortunately, despite Khan’s claims, money is wasted on bureaucracy. Khan has hidden behind this, blaming Government cuts, rather than demonstrating leadership on this issue. According to my research, £337 was spent per Londoner on policing compared to £222 in Merseyside, as an example. I agree with Shaun Bailey, Khan can cite his interpretation of figures, or he could choose to act. I have not once heard Khan offer his support to the Offensive Weapons Bill. Only last week, when the Home Secretary was meeting Senior Police Chiefs to listen and thank them for their hard work in tackling serious violence, Khan was instead tweeting against the Home Secretary. Khan took to disputing more money, despite the fact the Home Secretary had announced that he had secured a funding boost of more than £600m next year as part of the Government's efforts to find more money for frontline policing.
Khan must stop tweeting against the Conservatives and provide some solutions or support for cross-party action against serious violence. This should not be a partisan issue, but Khan had made it one. The Conservatives as ever will have to pick-up the pieces from another failed and impractical Labour run administration.
The views expressed in this article are those of the author.
Katherine Dew- Moor is a Conservative Party activist.