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Sadiq Khan says rise in youth crime linked to poverty

London Mayor Sadiq Khan.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan.

LONDON mayor Sadiq Khan has attributed a spike in youth violence to social exclusion and austerity.

Deprivation, school exclusions and poverty, exacerbated by the Conservatives’ austerity spending cuts have resulted in a 71 per cent increase in violence between 2012-13 and 2017-18, said Khan based on data from a range of institutions including the police, the British Transport police, the NHS, the London Ambulance service and others.

The data shows that the 10 most deprived areas of London are most likely to experience the highest levels of serious crime among young people.

At an event in south London on Monday (15), Khan said: “The truth is if we allow children to be brought up in deprived conditions as a country, if we accept high rates of school exclusions, if we fail to tackle domestic and sexual violence, if we leave people in bad housing with a lack of employment and training opportunities, and if we decimate the very public services designed to support those most in need – as this government has systematically done – then crime is quite simply much more likely to flourish.”

Khan also believes that will say Tory austerity policies since 2010 has increased offending. The London mayor said that £800m had been “stripped” from the Metropolitan Police Service’s budget since 2010, and this has created a “huge amount of damage” on communities.

“The sad reality is the violence we’re seeing on our streets today is an appalling side-effect of increasing inequality and alienation caused by years of government austerity and neglect,” he said.

“The lesson we must all learn is that you can’t cut police officers, public services, preventative measures and ignore the most vulnerable people in our country at the same time as keeping crime low. These things are fundamentally incompatible.”

Speaking on Monday, Khan also told the BBC he was putting £360,000 into 43 projects that will work with 3,500 young people who are at risk of getting involved in crime. Half of these projects are in neighbourhoods that are in the top 10  per cent for rates of serious youth violence.