United Kingdom

Sadiq Khan failed to lead the police – I have a plan to adapt it

London Mayor Sadiq Khan

London Mayor Sadiq Khan

This week I read that an 85-year-old man was pushed to the ground on a South London bus in broad daylight and had his wallet stolen. A story like this would have been shocking ten years ago, but unfortunately it seems all too familiar today.

Thefts have become an everyday crime. Bikes, phones, watches and even pets are being stolen on an alarming scale. Some criminals know very well that they will never be caught. The victims know it too. Many are unlikely to report these crimes because even if they have video footage and a signed confession from the thief, they know there is less chance of prosecution.

Having your phone stolen isn’t even an interesting story to tell your friends anymore. They are more likely to shrug their shoulders and point out that this has happened to them many times before. And it is the vulnerable who suffer the most. If there are no legal consequences for robbing someone, then criminals will target those who cannot fight back.

This shouldn’t happen. In a city like London, where tourists and businessmen from all over the world come to visit, we should never accept that certain types of crime can go unpunished. There is certainly no excuse when we have the resources to deal with it. Police numbers have increased significantly in the capital.

Yet despite being both mayor and commissioner of police and crime, he has failed to act. Sadiq Khan seems more interested in shaking hands with Extinction Rebellion protesters and rubbing shoulders with celebrities than he is leading the Metropolitan Police. This needs to be settled. I am running to be the Conservative candidate for mayor of London, and if I am elected mayor, I will sort it out.

My plan will fix the police with another funding boost, to help make the changes we need and further increase the number of frontline officers. But more importantly, I will take steps to restore the police to the respected and trusted authority figures they once were. Criminals will fear them again.

The reputation of the police has been tarnished for years. And now the relationship between the public and the police is fundamentally broken. When the police didn’t show up at break-ins, it became hard to trust them to keep us safe. And when you watch serving officers dance at the Notting Hill Carnival or bend the knee for the latest political cause, it’s hard for people to take them seriously.

The police are sadly seen as weak, incompetent and corrupt by many, treated like a joke by criminals. It’s an unfair characterization, given the crucial work frontline officers do, putting their lives on the line to keep us safe. But this perception was able to grow, because people like Sadiq Khan refused to step up and lead them.

We need to get rid of the nonsense and make sure the police are focused on triaging crime, not appeasement of political causes. We need a dedicated unit to stop burglaries, robberies and robberies. And we must put an end to the horrific scandals of the Met Police, rooting out corrupt officers and reforming its institutions.

It doesn’t have to be like that. I do not accept that crimes like these are an inevitable consequence of a growing population. It is a problem that can be solved with strong and effective leadership and common sense policies.

Susan Hall is a member of the London Assembly

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