View from the street: Jessica Learmond-Criqui on holding Sadiq Khan to account over ‘rampant, fearless and blatant crime’


- Credit: Archant

In his letter last week, Andrew Dismore asked me to produce any document that states the mayor “issued a diktat to cut the police in the bald terms [I] asserted”.

In my article of April 19, I stated that “a diktat from the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan’s office has this month ordered that one sergeant and one inspector must be cut from Camden Borough’s numbers”. This was amended on May 3 to the mayor’s diktat “was not made in April, 2018 ... – it was made earlier in his March 2018 budget”.

The mayor’s consolidated budget 2018/19 (pg 47) states “In order to deliver a balanced budget, savings and efficiencies of £130.3 million have been found, of which £100 million relates to reducing the police officer budget to an establishment of 30,000, delivered primarily by the Strengthening Local Policing Programme ...”(SLLP). The SLLP specified (pg 61) the “reduction of 1,583 officer posts, realising savings of £99m” which would result in a reduction of 91 posts in the merged BCU of Camden and Islington.

The 2018/19 budget started on April 1, 2018 and immediately, instructions to remove one sergeant and one inspector from Camden were given – reductions due to the diktat from Mayor Khan’s office by virtue of his budget.

Mr Dismore also challenged me to “give the figure as to what increase the council tax would be, to meet [my] demands for police numbers”. That, Mr Dismore is the mayor’s and your job – not mine.

Finally, Mr Dismore challenged me to be upfront about my political allegiances and ambitions. It’s a fair challenge albeit a cynical attempt to deflect the failures of the mayor on to me. My political allegiances and ambitions are these. To spark a London wide debate on the atrophy and decay of the pride of our country, the Metropolitan Police; to wake up Londoners to the downward spiral of crime, the sanctity of their safety and that the current crime wave will get worse; to extol the mayor to stop pointing fingers and to show real leadership as the head of the Met; and to encourage you, dear Andrew, to be the conscience of the mayor and to hold him to account for his palpable failings in this arena, as is your job.

It has been seven weeks since you first challenged me in the pages of the Ham&High. How many more victims have there been since then? How much nearer to anarchy are we as a metropolitan city, now besieged by rampant, fearless and blatant crime? You are wilfully and publicly obfuscating the responsibility for this crime charade - and that is unforgivable. You should use your high office to make a difference instead of barracking a member of your constituency. While you sit there and point a finger at me, what, pray tell, have you been doing to hold the mayor to account for keeping the public safe and for harnessing the funds needed for the Met to do their public duty?

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I look forward to your reply.