London Assembly Member for City & East London, John Biggs on the role of a local Mayor


- Credit: John Biggs

Crime and the fear of crime are always high up on the priorities of people. The likelihood of being a victim is low, but it does happen, the newspapers are full of gruesome stories, and its impact can of course be very high.

And that is why people are, quite properly, concerned, and expect people like me to take an interest, and to be accountable when things go wrong. I have been involved in London’s policing for many years, and so know a bit about it.

Our police do a good job, and recorded crime has fallen, and confidence has risen, nationally and across London. This trend has continued, although sometimes something goes wrong.

Between 2010 and 2013, recorded crime in London fell by 2 per cent. In Newham it fell by 6pc, in Barking and Dagenham by 5pc and in Hackney by 3pc. Why then, in Tower Hamlets, did it rise by 9pc? Clearly something is going wrong.

I am not sure about the exact reasons but I do know that there is not a sudden conversion of people to wickedness. So the something that’s going wrong must be somewhere else – and I would start with the people in charge. It’s time for our local Mayor to roll those sleeves up, stop posing for photographs and do the job he’s there for. And the local police chief will, I hope, be helping with enquiries too.

I use these columns to talk about how things could be different if I was Mayor. It’s simple: fewer photographs and boasts but more hard work: regular community meetings, particularly where something is going wrong; greater focus on partnership with youth services, police, schools, health services; targeting alcohol misuse and anti-social behaviour; working with young people; changing attitudes to young men carrying knives; working with victims of crime and hardening vulnerable premises; sharing of good practice with social and private landlords; improved street lighting and investment in areas with high crime figures. These are all examples of what can work. Time to stop boasting and start working Mr Mayor.

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