Sadiq Khan attacked over record on policing London – ‘Thrown officers under the bus’

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Shaun Bailey, who is fighting to unseat the Labour mayor in May, has offered a scathing review of Mr Khan’s approach to policing the capital. The Conservative candidate said he had been disappointed to watch Mr Khan’s handling of issues involving the police which have blown up on social media.

Mr Bailey believes many of London’s police officers feel “nervous” in the line of duty because they lack confidence in their mayor to back them.

After thousands of Black Lives Matter supporters took to the streets of London last June to protest the killing of George Floyd in the US, Mr Khan told them: “I stand with you and I share your anger and your pain.”

While he condemned the small number of protesters who turned violent, London’s police union chief said he was “very disappointed” with Mr Khan’s response to the rally, where 30 officers suffered injuries.

Mr Bailey also accused Mr Khan of failing to show support for police when videos showing them in a bad light go viral, sometimes showing only one side of a story.

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If elected, he vowed to back the Metropolitan Police if and when officers are unfairly criticised for their actions in the line of duty.

Mr Bailey told “Standing up for the people who feel wronged is the job of the mayor.

“If the police have done something wrong of course I’ll stand up for [the people] but it’s a two-way alley.

“If the police are being victimised I’ll stand up for them as well because having a police force that’s nervous, that cannot do its job, doesn’t help anybody out.

“And where Sadiq Khan has gone very wrong is his willingness to throw them under the bus.”

He added: “No matter what the result is, if it means you have to come down against the police or for the police, I believe it would help reduce the amount of false attacks in the media that the police have had to deal with.

“If you think your political leaders are not going to give you any cover there’s no way you can be inquisitive police officers.

“And there’s no way you can step out and take a big risk for the safety of the public because you know wrong or right the mayor is not going to defend you.”

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Mr Bailey has pledged to reopen the 38 police station front counters that have been closed in London over the last four years.

He also said he would increase the Met’s number of officers from 31,321 to 40,000 if he gets into office.

He warned London’s soaring crime rate is having an impact on its reputation both in the UK and abroad.

In 2020 the number of homicides in the city reached 100 for the sixth year in a row.

And in late October, Mr Khan marked a grim milestone in his tenure in City Hall when the 100th teenager was killed since he became mayor.

Mr Bailey, who worked as a youth and crime adviser to former prime minister David Cameron, insisted he would prioritise tackling crime if elected.

He said: “I am looking to get 40,000 police officers on the streets of London, especially to follow up on burglary, to push down on knife crime, to do drugs operations, just to make the place safe

“We need to get on top of this. London doesn’t work for anyone – it’s perceived as dangerous.

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“It’s damaging our reputation internationally, it’s damaging us at home, but most importantly it just means London doesn’t feel safe.

“And I think no matter what you do, if you do one thing as mayor, make London safe.

“I will back the police to do the right thing. I’ll give them the technology to do the right thing and the man and the womanpower to do the right thing.

“Because ultimately everybody benefits – black, white, young, rich, poor, old from a safe London.”

A spokesperson for London Labour accused Mr Bailey of “lying to Londoners”.

They added: “Whereas Sadiq has backed police and provided funding for 1,000 new officers on the beat – the Tory candidate was a crime adviser to David Cameron during the austerity years that saw police budgets and officer numbers slashed.

“We won’t take any lessons on protecting Londoners from him.”

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