Evening Standard Comment: Sadiq Khan is weak on crime

 (Met Police handout)
(Met Police handout)

Levi Earnest-Morrison was 17 years old when his life was taken from him. Passers-by tried using a towel to stem the bleeding. Police, paramedics and London’s air ambulance arrived at the junction of Hazel Grove and Sydenham Road, but could not save him. A 35-year-old woman has been arrested on suspicion of murder.

Levi is the tenth teenager to be fatally stabbed in London in 2021. A quarter of the way through the year, that is already two-thirds of the 15 killed throughout 2020.

It is no surprise that, as we reveal today, crime has risen to become the biggest issue for Londoners as they prepare to head to the polls next month for the mayoral and Assembly elections.

Sadiq Khan remains set to win re-election. The only drama on the night may be whether he wins on the first round of voting or if he will require second preferences. Yet violent crime remains a real weakness for the Mayor.

While he leads Conservative Shaun Bailey on the four key issues facing Londoners — crime, health, housing and the economy — his lead on crime is the smallest.

This is perhaps unsurprising. In the 12 months to the end of March 2020, there were 15,928 knife crimes in the capital, compared with 9,752 for the 12 months to the start of April 2016, the final phase of Boris Johnson’s time in City Hall.

The Mayor must show how he can make a difference on violent crime, and stem the tide of this appalling loss of life

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