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Boris Johnson’s crime chief defends himself after Camden Town Hall rape gaffe

Deputy mayor for policing Stephen Greenhalgh (left) with London Mayor Boris Johnson Deputy mayor for policing Stephen Greenhalgh (left) with London Mayor Boris Johnson

Friday, March 14, 2014
1:00 PM

Boris Johnson’s crime chief was forced to defend himself after he stunned an audience by announcing he was “pleased” that rape is on the rise in Camden.

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Stephen Greenhalgh, London’s deputy mayor for policing and crime, was addressing a public meeting at Camden Town Hall when he shocked many with his insensitive wording.

He said: “I’m actually pleased to see that rape is going up in Camden because that means that more people are prepared and confident to step forward.”

He was trying to explain that rape is not on a list of seven key crimes that the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC) has vowed to cut by 20 per cent by 2016, because it is a notoriously under-reported crime.

“Setting a crude target about reducing the level of recording of rape would be the wrong thing to do... a 31 per cent increase [in Camden] is something that should be seen as a marker of great confidence,” he added.

His phrasing drew criticism from many in the audience.

When pressed about the gaffe later on in the meeting, he replied: “I want to be absolutely clear that rape is a horrific crime, it’s a horrific crime to have to be raped.

“Setting a crude target to reduce the number of rapes is entirely the wrong way to go, that’s what I was trying to say.”

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