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Sadiq Khan promises £3m “gangbusters” crackdown if re-elected

Sadiq Khan has promised a £3m “gangbusters” crackdown on high street crime if he is re-elected as mayor.

In his latest pledge, the Labour candidate said the funding package would pay for street-based youth workers, “focused on those key after-school hours when young people are most likely to get caught up in crime in their local areas”.

Up to 15 boroughs would be selected to benefit from the youth workers, identified using robbery crime data.

The mayor also announced a pilot project, which would launch in two or three boroughs and empower police to enter second-hand mobile phone shops and inspect merchandise without a warrant.

The mayor’s announcements come just one day after Tory candidate Susan Hall published her manifesto, which criticises Mr Khan for failures in policing and for having lost “control of our streets”.

Mr Khan said the funding would additionally help the Met Police to develop an ‘R100’ – a data-led approach to target the most prolific robbery offenders. This would replicate the Met’s ‘V100’ initiative to tackle violence against women and girls, which has seen 60 suspects arrested since August.

“Nothing is more important to me than the safety of Londoners,” the mayor said. “People need to feel safe on their busy local high streets which in some cases can be the focus of gang activity. And young people need to be protected from exploitation.

“I want to tackle high street crime head on. As part of my new £3m gangbusters plan, we’ll have extra police targeting the worst hotspots where people are more likely to be victims…

“Through using powers for the police to enter and inspect commercial premises, we’ll disrupt the illegal market in second-hand mobile phones head-on – making sure we do all we can to stop criminals re-purposing and making money from Londoners’ stolen phones.”

Ms Hall argues that the Met’s switch to ‘Basic Command Units’ under Mr Khan has “broken the vital link between police officers and local communities, making it harder to gather local intelligence and respond to local issues.” The mayor said Government austerity had forced him to make the change.

As well as returning to ‘borough-based’ policing, Ms Hall has committed to recruiting 1,500 more police officers, opening at least two new police “bases” in every borough, hiring a women’s commissioner to focus on women’s safety, and installing more CCTV on the Tube.

“Crime is out of control under Sadiq Khan. I’m listening to Londoners and I will make our streets safer,” the Conservative candidate has said.

The London mayoral election is on Thursday, May 2, along with elections to the London Assembly.