Metropolitan Police and National Crime Agency Cooperation

Questions to the Mayor of London – answered on 29th July 2019.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Unmesh Desai Unmesh Desai Labour

How are you and the Metropolitan Police Service working with the National Crime Agency to tackle cross-border crime?

Photo of Sadiq Khan Sadiq Khan Mayor of London

The threat from serious and organised crime is increasing both in volume and complexity. This picture is consistent across the country where crime, and in particular violent crime, is rising. I have been consistent in saying that tackling violence is my number one priority.

I know that the MPS is working hard, including in partnership with the National Crime Agency (NCA), to address this. The MPS collaborates with the NCA across a range of serious threats such as child sexual abuse and exploitation, modern slavery, money laundering and drug and firearms trafficking. It also works with the NCA on another area of growing complexity and volume, organised cyber and online‑enabled crime. The NCA co‑operate with the MPS, international partners and private companies to protect our citizens and our economy. The MPS works closely with the NCA’s regional organised crime units and other forces to target county drug lines, demonstrated by the co‑ordinated raids that took place against offenders in May this year [2019]. I have supported the collaboration from City Hall by providing £3 million from the London Crime Prevention Fund to the response and rescue projects, which helps young Londoners affected by county lines.

There is no doubt that across the board the increasing sophistication of organised criminality represents a real threat to Londoners. In order to address this, the police, including the NCA, are desperate for increased resources to invest in the officers, technology and training required to keep pace with the threat. The Chief Inspector has confirmed, in his annual report that our police are struggling to meet the rising demand and that more officers are needed. This is a view supported recently by five former MPS Commissioners.

Photo of Unmesh Desai Unmesh Desai Labour

Thank you, Mr Mayor. There was some good stuff there. You have talked about county lines and some co‑ordinated raids. Can you be a bit more specific on what you and the MPS’s co‑ordinated approach and working to prosecute gang leaders that threaten vulnerable children in particular?

Photo of Sadiq Khan Sadiq Khan Mayor of London

Yes. Thank you for the huge interest you take in this. Educating Londoners about the cross‑border crime that takes place is important and I am grateful.

There are some good examples in the recent past. Last year [2018], five men were convicted after the MPS’s Trident Gangs identified two county lines from Hackney into Cambridgeshire, which operated for 12 months. It is a good example. In April this year [2019] three gang members from London were convicted of human trafficking offences. They were using young and vulnerable people from London to transport and sell drugs in Hampshire. Another example I can give you is that in June [2019] six members of a county line drug gang were convicted of shipping drugs from London to Wiltshire and jailed for over 26 years. These are some examples. It is a good example of the MPS leading the way around the country, working with the NCA as well.

Photo of Unmesh Desai Unmesh Desai Labour

In this area, you and your Deputy Mayor [for Policing and Crime, Sophie Linden] and the MPS deserve congratulations.

We have talked about Brexit earlier in the context of business. In the context of crime and security, we know that international co‑operation is obviously important in tackling organised crime in a global city like London. Are you concerned that organised criminals will try to take advantage of a no‑deal Brexit?

Photo of Sadiq Khan Sadiq Khan Mayor of London

The last 24 hours have given us a good example of the advantages of an extradition agreement. We have had extradited to this country the brother of the man responsible for the terrorist attack in Manchester. This took two years to get this extradition done. We have to deal with the EU or anybody in the EU27 where anybody who is suspected of an offence can be extradited to our country in hours. We saw that in 2005 in relation to one of those responsible for the July bombing in London.

People need to understand that if we leave the EU, if there is a no‑deal Brexit, not only will we have lack of shared information on DNA on people with convictions and on passenger lists of people coming to our country, but even the possibility of extraditing people accused of serious crimes will be made more difficult.

Therefore, if you are a criminal, you want there to be a no‑deal Brexit because you know it will be more difficult for the authorities to trace and track you. That is why it is important for us to wake up on the consequences of us leaving the EU, but even worse the consequences of leaving without a deal.

Photo of Unmesh Desai Unmesh Desai Labour

Thank you, Mr Mayor.