Mayor demands apology from Labour rival for crime figures claim

John Biggs AM in Whitechapel

John Biggs AM in Whitechapel - Credit: Archant

The mayor of Tower Hamlets has demanded an apology from his Labour rival John Biggs over his false claim of a spike in crime in the borough over the last three years.

Lutfur Rahman

Lutfur Rahman - Credit: Archant

Last week the Advertiser revealed the Met police had published crime data with the years the wrong way round on its website, making it look like crime in Tower Hamlets had risen nine per cent instead of 1.4 per cent.

The police quickly fixed the computer error, which affected data for all the boroughs in London.

Mayor Lutfur Rahman said: “Instead of trying to score cheap political points and frightening local residents into the bargain, John Biggs could have tried to establish the truth.

“The Metropolitan Police have acknowledged that they made an honest mistake, but it is high time that John Biggs now apologises for trying to exploit the situation for his own political ends and getting it so spectacularly wrong.”

A motion was proposed by Cllr Maium Miah for November’s full council meeting accusing Mr Biggs of using the data to “deliberately mislead the public” although the motion was not debated.

The mayor also attacked Mr Biggs at the meeting in part of his regular five minute speech.

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John Biggs in turn accused the mayor of “petty opportunism” and said the false figures were only discovered because of the Labour party’s scrutiny.

He said: “The mayor knows full well it was the Metropolitan Police who published inaccurate crime figures.

“Without Labour’s campaigning the police and the council wouldn’t have even realised they had completely messed up their crime statistics.

Mr Biggs added: “It’s a bit rich for the Mayor to be demanding apologies when he still hasn’t explained why Tower Hamlets is the only east London borough where crime has gone up since he came to power.”