London mayor Sadiq Khan has admitted it was an error for his mayoral office to claim that knife crime in the U.K. capital has fallen under his watch after the country’s independent statistics regulator revealed it had actually risen by 40 percent.
A mayoral press release published back in July praised Khan’s leadership in reducing knife crime across the city since he took charge of City Hall in 2016.
However, the Labour politician was left red-faced after Ed Humpherson, director general at the Office for Statistics Regulation, said the claim was “incorrect” and had the ability to seriously mislead the public.
The stats agency director revealed his office was engaging with Khan’s team to issue a correction as knife crime has, in fact, “significantly increased across the relevant period”.
Khan’s office made the claim moments before the Office for National Statistics published the latest figures on knife crime across the capital which contradicted the statement.
According to the data, a total of 12,786 knife offenses were recorded in the year to March 2023. The figure had soared by 40 percent on the 9,086 offenses reported in the year to March 2016.
Knife crime has continued to grow across London under Khan’s stewardship, increasing to 13,503 offenses by the end of June.
City Hall is understood to have dismissed the criticism initially, insisting that it was referring to knife offenses resulting in injury to under-25s. However, Humpherson further rebuked the mayoral office, stating it had not been “clear on the source of the claims” and had not reported the statistics “in line with best practice”.
A mayoral spokesperson confirmed this week it had now added “further detail” to the press release “around the specific reductions achieved with knife crime in the capital,” some five months later.
“The Greater London Authority (GLA), the press team, clarified the error made,” Sadiq Khan told MyLondon on Tuesday.
“It was an error, and you have to hold your hands up when you’ve made an error,” he added.
Other recent data has revealed the crime wave enveloping the U.K. capital, particularly on the London Underground with Transport for London (TfL) reporting that crime on the network has increased by 56 percent in the last year.
A total of 10,836 offenses were reported between April and September this year, including a dramatic rise in thefts and robberies.
Again, Khan denied he was responsible for the rise, and actually suggested that a mayoral office campaign urging people to report crimes had contributed to the inflated figures.
“One of the things I’ve tried to do is to try and encourage people to report crime they otherwise wouldn’t. And so we’ve got a campaign, we have now for a while on the Underground, called Report it to Stop it,” Khan said.
“I’m not being complacent, but the fact that more people are confident enough to report it, shouldn’t mean that we don’t take action,” he added.