Mayor Livingstone yesterday pledged 6% a year reductions in crime for each of the next four years , when launching his manifesto for a safer London - ‘Policing London in the 21st Century'.
He highlighted the investment his administration has put into Capital's policing which has produced record levels of police numbers and crime down for five years in a row. This contrasts with reductions in London's police under the Conservative Government that preceded him. The Mayor promised Londoners that he would continue to prioritise the extra funding necessary to fight crime.
Mr. Livingstone announced he will deploy extra resources on five key areas - building up London's defences against terrorist attacks, dealing with the issue of murders of young people, continuing the progress made in crimes against women including rape and domestic violence, dealing with drug crime and continuing progress to make sure that the make up of the Met reflects London.
Mayor Livingstone told the audience: 'The central pledge in this manifesto is to continue to reduce crime in London by 6 per cent a year over the next four years. This pledge can be made entirely realistically on the basis of the policies which have already resulted in crime in London falling for five years in a row. The rate of decline is accelerating with crime falling by 1.9 per cent in 2004, 4.4 per cent in 2005, 5.9 per cent in 2006, and 6.1 per cent in 2007. The average annual decline in crime for the last three years is 5.5 per cent. With the drop accelerating, the pledge to reduce crime by six per cent a year is entirely realistic both on the basis of existing policies and of the extra ones announced in this manifesto".
The Mayor pioneered the introduction of Safer Neighbourhood Police Teams in London - a model now being copied round the UK and says that having extra police on the Capital's streets is a central plank of his strategy to further cut crime adding "It was my decision to finance an increase in the number of police officers by 6,000, and to add more than 4,000 Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs), meaning an increase by 10,000 in uniformed officers. That has led to the reduction in crime in London. I will continue this by adding a further 1,000 officers this year. The increase in police numbers has made possible the introduction of local neighbourhood police teams in every part of London. We now have more police in London than at other time in history, dedicated teams of officers in every neighbourhood and 21 new Safer Transport Teams working to make public transport safer in London's outer boroughs" He said "The reduction in the number of police in London to only 25,000 before I came to office in 2000, because of policies of the Tory governments of that time, unleashed a serious crime wave in London, for example murders increased by 70 per cent and rapes by 72 per cent".
The Mayor said that he wanted crime to come down much further saying "The number of murders in London has fallen every year for the last five years, from 222 in 2003 to 160 last year. This is a reduction in murder by 28 per cent - even more than the 19 per cent fall in crime in the same period. Rape has fallen by 25 per cent. Gun crime by 22 per cent. Racist crime has been reduced by 55 per cent while I have been in office. The murders of young people are a critical issue we have to bear down upon by a combination of tough policing targeting the possession of knives, in particular, and policies to get young people off the streets by providing them with safe places, like youth facilities, to go outside school hours. These hard core crimes will not be reduced by gimmicks but by building on the methods that have reduced overall crime in London. Growing police numbers, the growing experience of the new officers and the roll out of neighbourhood policing are the most important means that will allow increased targeting of the most serious crime. There is no cheap way to reduce crime."