04 April 2012

Fact Check: Ken Livingstone's Crime Manifesto

Ken Livingstone launched his crime manifesto today, but yet again he is making false claims and empty promises.

And despite his claim not to be engaging in negative campaigning, his manifesto mentions Boris Johnson 17 times in a 19-page document.

Ken Livingstone’s latest false claims on crime:

  • Police numbers. Despite Ken Livingstone claims about cuts, official Met data shows there will be 1,000 more police officers on the beat than Boris Johnson inherited. According to the Met, there are 209 new officers coming on board in April, bringing the total officer numbers to 32,468 – well over a thousand above the 31,398 Boris inherited.
  • Safer Neighbourhood Teams. Ken Livingstone claims that Boris has cut the number of officers in Safer Neighbourhood Teams (Ken Livingstone campaign, Press Release, 4 April 2012). However, the Metropolitan Police have confirmed that there has not been a reduction in the number of PCs and PCSOs within Safer Neighbourhood Teams (MPS Website, ‘Safer Neighbourhoods’, link).
  • Crime rates. Crime is coming down under Boris:
    • Total crime has been cut by 10.8 per cent (MOPC, Monthly Report: Police and Crime Committee, 8 March 2012). Comparing 45 months of Ken Livingstone (Aug 04 – Apr 08) with 45 months of Boris Johnson (May 08 – Jan 12).
    • Robberies are down 16.3 per cent (ibid.).
    • Murders are down by 25.9 per cent (ibid.).
    • Youth violence is down by 13.8 per cent since 2008 (MOPC Statistics).
    • Bus crime is down by 32.9 per cent (MOPC, Monthly Report: Police and Crime Committee, 8 March 2012, 45 month comparison).
    • Violence on buses is down by 21 per cent (TfL, Crime and Anti Social Behaviour Statistical Bulletin, Q2 11/12, Table 2.1, link).
    • Tube crime is down by 20 per cent (TfL, Press Release, 21 February 2011, link).
  • Knife crime.  Ken Livingstone claims that knife crime has risen every year for the past three years (Ken Livingstone, Crime Manifesto, link). In fact, across London knife crime fell by 1.2 per cent in 2009/10 (MPS, Annual Report 2008/09, p. 23, link; MPS Website, link).

 

Ken Livingstone’s previous false claims on crime:

Ken Livingstone’s claim:  Ken Livingstone claimed that crime has ‘sort of flatlined’ under Boris Johnson (BBC TV, London News, 4 January 2012, link).

The truth:  Using a direct comparison with Ken Livingstone’s period in office, crime has fallen by 10.8 per cent under Boris Johnson (MOPC, Monthly Report: Police and Crime Committee, 8 March 2012, link. Comparing 45 months of Ken Livingstone (August 2004 – April 2008) with 45 months of Boris Johnson (May 2008 – January 2012)..  From August 2004 to April 2008 there were 3,486,028 offences reported in London.  Between May 2008 and January 2012 there were 3,110,245 offences reported – a fall of 10.8 per cent).

 

Ken Livingstone claim: In the last year there has been an 8 per cent increase in murders (Ken Livingstone, BBC London, 26 March 2012). 

The truth:  Taking a rolling 12 month period, murder is down by 24.1 per cent in the 12 months to February 2012 when compared to the 12 months previously (Metropolitan Police Website, ‘Latest Crime Figures for London’, link; Metropolitan Police Website, ‘Crime Mapping: Data Tables’, link).

 

Ken Livingstone is making promises on police he knows he cannot keep

Safer Neighbourhood Teams – every team or just some?

  • Ken Livingstone won’t say whether these will be PCs or PCSOs or whether he will boost every Safer Neighbourhood Team. He just says ‘more’ SNTs will be increased to 9 officers (Ken Livingstone, Crime Manifesto, p.7). 
  • By contrast Boris has said how he will to boost every Safer Neighbourhood Team with 2,000 more police, including up to 3 more police officers per team. If re-elected, Boris Johnson will work with the Commissioner to deliver a massive boost to Safer Neighbourhood Teams, with an additional 2,000 police, including adding up to three police officers, to every team. Each team will also get three Special Constables to further boost police presence in our neighbourhoods (Boris Johnson, Crime Manifesto, 2 April 2012).

 

1,700 more police officers – where’s the money coming from?

Ken Livingstone fails to explain how he will fund the extra officers. He says he will:

  • Make TfL pay the full cost of the Safer Transport Command – but they already do. ‘Ensure that Transport for London pays the full cost of the Safer Transport Command (£80 million over the Mayoral term)’ (ibid.). But The Safer Transport Command is already fully funded by TfL (MPA, Finance and Resources Committee: Report 9, 17 June 2010, link).
  • Make efficiencies at Scotland Yard, such as cutting first class travel – but Ken Livingstone charged City Hall £66,000 in expenses when he was mayor. ‘Work with the Commissioner to ensure that all possible efficiencies are found at Scotland Yard, including non- essential spending on such things as chauffeur driven cars and first-class travel’ (Ken Livingstone campaign, Press Release, 4 April 2012). Ken Livingstone charged City Hall £66,000 in expenses when he was mayor, including £6,404 on 1st class flights to Florida (Mail on Sunday, 1 April 2012).

 

Ken Livingstone’s record on crime 

  • Under Ken Livingstone violent crime increased. Violent crime in London went up 11.2 per cent between 2000/01 and 2007/08 (MPS, Crime Figures 2000-2008, link).
  • Under Ken Livingstone drug crime more than doubled. Drug crime in London increased by 201.6 per cent between 2000/01 and 2007/08 (MPS, Crime Figures 2000-2008, link).
  • Under Ken Livingstone actual bodily harm almost doubled. Cases of ABH in London increased by 30,641 between 2000/01 and 2007/08, a rise of 84 per cent (MPS, Crime Figures 2000-2008, link).
  • Under Ken Livingstone harassment almost doubled. Cases of Harassment in London increased by 20,909 between 2000/01 and 2007/08, a rise of 88.9 per cent (MPS, Crime Figures 2000-2008, link).
  • Under Ken Livingstone Tube crime increased. Between 2001/02 and 2007/08 public disorder offences increase by 521 per cent, violent crime was up by 56 per cent and drug crime was up by 128 per cent (British Transport Police, Statistical Bulletin 2002/03 – 2007/08, link).
  • Under Ken Livingstone bus crime increased. The London Assembly Transport Committee found at the beginning of 2008 that overall crime on buses had increased by over 17 per cent between 2004/05 and 2005/06 (London Assembly Transport Committee, Crime and Disorder on London’s Buses, January 2008, p.8, link).
  • Under Ken Livingstone violence on buses increased by 9%. At the start of his second term in 04/05 violence against the person stood at 7,712 offences (Transport for London, Crime and anti social behaviour statistics bulletin Q1 07/08, Table 2.1, link). By the end of his second term in 07/08 violence against the person stood at 8,400 offences; a rise of 9% (Ibid. Q1 08/09, Table 2.1, link).

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