Opinion: Mayor choses press officers over police
PUBLISHED: 08:00 10 February 2019
Whenever Sadiq Khan is questioned about London's stratospheric violent crime rates on TV or radio, he regurgitates the same pre-scripted answers which Londoners have become all too familiar with.
He couldn’t be doing any more, he says. He claims that his team are bending over backwards and straining every sinew to get more cops on the streets. London’s crime epidemic has nothing do with him; it is all the government’s fault. If only ministers would give him more cash he could sort the problem out.
The fact is that Khan could be doing more to get more police officers on the streets. A lot more.
Since he was elected the mayor has splurged an unprecedented amount on waste, spin and bureaucracy. The problem is that this money has all too often been spent on boosting Khan’s profile, not on keeping Londoners safe.
For example, Khan has increased the number of City Hall staff by 37per cent since his election in 2016. The PR budget has shot up by millions, as has the amount TfL pays for employees to work on trade union duties.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. As part of the mayor’s draft budget process, the GLA Conservatives have put forwarded a fully costed plan for how Khan could cut this waste and use the savings to put nearly 1,400 more bobbies on the beat.
So next time you hear the mayor trotting out his well-rehearsed lines, don’t forget that he has chosen to pay for press officers over the police officers and bureaucrats over bobbies.
Politics is about choices and Sadiq Khan has made crystal clear what his priorities are. In May 2020 you’ll be able to vote for whether these are your priorities.