Sadiq Khan has attacked the Government over being “weak on the causes of crime” and suggested that cuts could be driving rising violence.
Speaking after four young men were murdered in unrelated stabbings in the capital during New Year’s Eve celebrations, the Mayor said police were already doing everything in their power.
“The police are being tough on crime, but the Government are being desperately weak on the causes of crime,” he added.
“Getting back to being ‘tough on the causes of crime’ will require a massive investment in the services that have been neglected for too long, tragically letting our young people down.”
Critics have hit out at Mr Khan for presiding over rising violence in London since he was elected mayor in 2016, having vowed to “challenge gang culture and knife crime head on” in his manifesto.
The number of teenagers murdered in 2017 was the highest since 2008 and there is mounting public concern over the number of stabbings and a spike in acid attacks and moped robberies.
Violent offences have risen by 19 per cent in England and Wales in the past year, and by 3 per cent in London.
Mr Khan claimed real-terms funding cuts to youth services, community groups, education, probation and the police since the 2010 general election had “reversed decades of progress in tackling the root causes of violent offending”.
He also hit out at the “botched” partial privatisation of probation services, the ongoing prisons crisis and “scandalous” reoffending rates.
The Labour Mayor called on ministers to prioritise youth services, community work, mental health, probation and prisons to fight the causes of crime.
“On this Government’s watch, these critical services have been allowed to deteriorate and starved of funding and we are now paying a heavy price,” Mr Khan said.
“I am doing everything I can to tackle this scourge in our communities. Keeping the country safe should be the Government’s priority too, and it is time ministers stopped shirking this responsibility.”
Scotland Yard appealed for the public’s help combating knife culture after the four New Year’s Eve murders, which have been followed by another stabbing in Harrow and a murder in Ilford.
Sir Craig Mackey, the Deputy Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, said it was “truly unusual and extraordinary” for so many murders to take place in such a short period of time.
“There are a number of issues affecting knife crime,” he added. “We are doing our part… but we need others working with us to help tackle those underlying issues around a knife culture that has emerged across London.”