I am clear on the priorities that will be reflected in my new Police and Crime Plan. First, we must continue to reduce violent crime, particularly among younger people. That is why I established England’s first VRU and why I will continue to work closely with the Commissioner to keep Londoners safe, bring violent criminals to justice, and get deadly weapons off our streets as a matter of urgency.
Another priority will be to refresh our strategy for countering violence against women and girls, building on the work that has been done over the last five years backed by a record investment. The refreshed Violence Against Women and Girls Strategy will take a public health approach to tackling these appalling crimes.
I also reaffirm my commitment to delivering my action plan for transparency, accountability and trust in policing. Work is already underway to make our police service more representative of the city it serves. I am pleased to say the MPS has record numbers of black, Asian and minority ethnic officers, but we must do more collectively to increase trust and confidence in policing, particularly in black communities.
I continue to champion victims’ rights. That is why I am pleased to have reappointed Claire Waxman as London’s independent Victims’ Commissioner. Working with Claire and all of our partner agencies, I will continue to drive progress towards a justice service that puts victims at the heart of its work.
Under my leadership, and because of the difficult decisions I made in my first term, City Hall funding for the MPS has reached record levels. I would not be afraid to make these difficult decisions again in the future to make London a safer city. The priorities I have described here were set out very clearly in my election manifesto and, with the renewed mandate I have from Londoners, work is already underway on developing them into my new Police and Crime Plan.
Thank you. I will look forward to seeing the draft plan. You have started with a lot of community engagement in your action plan because you know as well as anyone else that a paper or online consultation simply will not reach widely enough to all the communities in London. How will Londoners be involved in developing your new Police and Crime Plan?
I am really happy to work with the relevant Committee in relation to talking through the consultation plans we have. If there are any ideas Members have, we are more than happy to take those on board. I suspect - my fingers are crossed - we will be out of the pandemic by the summer, so we will not have to worry about the health risks. Chair, can I suggest that my Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime works with Members of the Assembly to make sure we have a proper consultation, which is really important for a Police and Crime Plan?
That would be very helpful, yes. I look forward to hearing about that. The important thing is that Londoners are right at the very heart of the plan.
The other thing that is really important is that you are looking at those first principles for policing, for example, restoring the original principles of policing by consent. Are you going to be looking at the basic principles of policing in this Police and Crime Plan?
The short answer is that we are a city of more than 10 million when you include commuters and visitors. With the best will in the world, 33,000 officers by themselves cannot keep our city safe without the consent and help of the public. That is why trust and confidence is so important. One of the things I have tried to get across is the issue of lack of trust and confidence from black Londoners affects all of us. If somebody is a victim of crime today and they do not come forward, the perpetrator - the point Peter [Fortune AM] made in relation to detection and sanction - could commit further crimes going forward. That is why it affects all of us and that is why it is important for us to improve trust and confidence. You will have seen the really welcome comments from Deputy Commissioner [Sir] Stephen House [QPM, MPS] this week, a year on from George Floyd’s brutal murder, about the commitment that police have to improve trust and confidence. That is integral to how we police by consent.
I am not sure I can give that commitment now. What I am willing to do is get back to you. You are asking me to commit to something in a Police and Crime Plan that is not written yet. I am more than happy to take on board any ideas you have.
If you can have a look at that. I believe there are people in 27 boroughs, but it will be good to have them in every single borough. The only other thing I would like is for you to tell me a bit more about is how you plan to put the public health approach into your Police and Crime Plan.
The public health approach is intrinsic and integral to the VRU work we do. It is something that needs to be an integral part of the Violence Against Women and Girls work that we do. Because enforcement is one end of the spectrum, but you have to deal with the pipeline of young people getting involved in criminality and also the male perpetrators who are responsible for the vast majority of the violence against women and girls. The public health approach, which you know as well as anybody else, is about dealing with - the way I describe it to members of the public - stop the infection occurring in the first place, deal with the infection, stop the infection spreading, using data and a holistic approach.
We have now some of the world’s best data in our city that other cities are envious about. We can micro-target where we have intervention at an early stage, but also enforcement. We are particularly keen to use that for the limited resources that police have. It is an operational matter. In answer to your previous question, I mentioned hotspots. I think it was Keith Prince’s [AM] question. Over the next phase you will be seeing the police targeting their resources in those boroughs where there is a bigger concern around violence against women and girls or against violent crime. But the Police and Crime Plan, at its core, will have a public health approach.