Monday, March 31, 2008

Crime Claims

On Friday Ken Livingstone unveiled his crime manifesto. At the time we reported on his claim regarding engaging with religious leaders who are unequivocal in their opposition to terrorism. This time, though, it is the crime statistics that are the problem.

Many of the claims from Livingstone's campaign hide important facts.

Ken cites murder as an example of improvement in policing. He claims a 28% reduction in murders. This may well be, but murders account for less than 0.1% of violent crimes against the person in the capital. Focusing on murder hides the fact that since he was first elected ABH is up a whopping 80%, Harassment is up 90% and in total violence against the person is up 12%.

Ken cites rape as being down 25%. But here too rape accounts for less than 25% of sexual offences, and the other kinds are up. Overall during his term in office sexual offences have fallen by less than 1%.

Ken claims that in 11 boroughs there has been a 50% reduction in gun crime and a 26% reduction in knife crime. But what he doesn't tell you is that overall crime involving an offensive weapon is up by nearly 10% since he became Mayor.

In his manifesto he says:

Much of the crime that still takes place in London, including that involving gangs, is linked to the trade in illegal drugs. I will ensure tackling this is another top priority for the Met.
What he doesn't say is that since he started drug trafficking has increased by just under 20% with possession sky-rocketing by nearly 200%. Overall drug related crime is up 165%. And what's more, it has increased by over 25% every year for the last three years. If Ken recognises that drugs fuel crime why has so little been done to tackle it?

When one reads through his manifesto two crimes come up again and again - murder and rape. Why? Because in these areas the crime rate has fallen. But murder and rape combined accounts for just one quarter of one percent of all London crime.

In many of the areas that really matter crime is increasing. Violent crime is up 12%, sexual offences are basically unchanged, drug crime has soared by more than 150%.

We should not be fooled by Ken's carefully selected stats. Despite investing heavily in extra police officers large areas of important crime remains out of control.

Please note that all data in this report come from the Metropolitan Police Service's crime statistics, available here: and that all years refer to the end of the financial year so that 2003, for example, refers to the financial year ending in 2003.