Sadiq Khan today rolled his eyes and said ‘I’ve done all I can’ as he was grilled over his failure to tackle London’s knife crime epidemic.
The Mayor of London claimed he had done ‘as much as I am allowed to do under the law’ by raising council tax three years in a row and using money from business rates to invest in policing and youth services.
Instead, he insisted cuts in central government funding had left him hamstrung. ‘The investment we are putting in doesn’t fill the massive hole left by the Government,’ he said in an interview with Sky News.
At this point Sky’s Sarah-Jane Mee interrupted, saying: ‘You keep shifting it onto central government.’ Mr Khan then rolled his eyes in frustration, before the presenter asked why he was not ‘taking personal responsibility’ for the issue.
The interview came after a fatal stabbing yesterday in Leyton, east London, bought the number of murders in the capital this year to 21.
Mr Khan also faced criticism for jetting off on holiday with his wife to Marrakech on Saturday, hours after the unprovoked murder of 17-year-old girl scout Jodie Chesney – and fatal stabbing of A* student Yousef Makki – shocked Britain.
It sparked a huge debate on how to tackle the knife crisis gripping the UK’s streets, with Theresa May, Sajid Javid and police chiefs all weighing in on the ‘national emergency’.
And today Chancellor Philip Hammond faced a backlash after he rejected a plea for more cash to curb the problem – then suggested officers may get money if Brexit goes smoothly.
Mr Khan today claimed on Sky News that he had done ‘as much as I am allowed to do under the law’ to tackle knife crime by setting up a £45million youth fund and raising council taxes
The Mayor’s actions during the interview sparked anger on Twitter, with one person accusing him of being ‘out of his depth’
The comments by Sadiq Khan sparked anger, with Susan Hall, a Tory member of the Greater London Assembly, telling MailOnline: ‘The fact that Sadiq Khan rolled his eyes when an interviewer dared to question him about London’s crime epidemic really does sum up this Mayor’s complacent attitude towards violent crime.
‘Throughout his mayoralty Khan has consistently failed to get a grip on crime, focusing instead on obsessing about Brexit and rushing out gimmicky policies like his TfL food ad ban.’
Others vented their fury on Twitter, where one user accused Mr Khan of being ‘out of his depth’.
Chris Wade said: ‘He’s done bugger all. More plod watching internet than in murder squad. #priorities.’
Freddie Shepherd tweeted: ‘@SadiqKhan have some humility man. It’s not all Governments fault. You have a budget.
Philip Hammond (pictured yesterday outside Downing Street) said a smooth exit from the European Union would help free more money for public services
‘You are putting it towards gender neutral loos, banning bikini ads and PR. You have failed on housing you have failed on knife crime.’
And Adam Goldie added: ‘What a terrible human to roll his eyes whilst talking about a knife epidemic that he is too inept to control. What an awful awful human.’
The interview came after 14 fatal stabbings in the UK over 16 days, including that of a man in his 20s who shouted ‘help, they’re after me’ as he fled barefoot from his house after being stabbed six times before bleeding to death in the street.
The man, named locally as Carlos Rodriguez, was helped by onlookers who tried to stem his wounds and give him CPR as a suspect fled the scene yesterday in Leyton, east London, according to a witness.
Other victims include 17-year-olds Jodie Chesney and Yousef Makki, who were killed in separate incidents in London and Greater Manchester over the weekend.
In Coventry, a 14-year-old schoolgirl was chased by up to 15 other teenagers before being attacked with what one witness described as scissors. The victim’s injuries are not life-threatening a 16-year-old girl was arrested.
Home Secretary Sajid Javid is calling for more money to tackle knife crime, while Theresa May and Met Commissioner Cressida Dick recently clashed over whether a reduction in officer numbers had fuelled the problem.
Murder map: The shocking scale of knife deaths in Britain so far in 2019
Mrs May also faced mounting pressure from Home Secretary Sajid Javid (pictured yesterday) and senior officers, who went public with demands for increased funding
Chancellor Philip Hammond has resisted calls for more funding by saying police should divert the resources they already had to the issue.
Mr Hammond said police forces need to move officers off ‘lower priority’ crime and onto knife violence.
He also suggested there would be more money for public services if MPs voted for the Prime Minister’s Brexit deal.
The 21 murders in London already this year
January 1: Charlotte Huggins, 33, is believed to have been the first homicide victim in London in 2019. She was stabbed in Camberwell, south-east London, in the early hours of New Year’s Day.
January 1: Later that day, security guard Tudor Simionov, also 33, was stabbed to death at about 5.30am as he tried to prevent gatecrashers storming a private party in Park Lane, central London.
January 4: Simbiso Aretha Moula, 39, was found murdered in her home in Rainham, east London. Her husband, Garikayi Moula, was found hanged. Police were not seeking anyone else in connection with the murder.
January 5: Sarah Ashraf, 35, was found dead in a home in the Isle of Dogs, east London. A 32-year-old man was charged with murder.
January 8: Just 14 years old, Jaden Moodie was knocked off a moped and stabbed to death in Leyton, east London.
January 11: Asma Begum, 31, was found with a neck injury in a property City Island Way, Tower Hamlets. A 46-year-old man was charged with murder.
January 27: Kamil Malysz, 34, was found stabbed to death in a shared house in Acton, west London.
January 29: Nedim Bilgin, 17, was the victim of a knife attack in Caledonian Road, Islington, north London.
February 3: A 46-year-old man was found dead at a medical facility in Highgate, north London. A 21-year-old was charged with murder.
February 5: Lejean Richards, 19, was fatally stabbed in Battersea, south-west London.
February 10: A man, believed to be in his 30s, was found fatally stabbed in East Dulwich, south-east London.
February 18: Bright Akinleye dies after walking into a hotel reception in Camden, north London, with stab wounds.
February 19: Brian Wieland, 69, found dead with multiple head injuries at his home in Chingford, east London.
February 21: Glendon Spence, 23, was killed outside a youth club in Brixton, south London. Police have charged two 17-year-olds with murder.
February 22: Kamali Gabbidon-Lynck, 19, was murdered in Wood Green, Haringey. Police said that he and a another man, aged 20, were both found with stab wounds.
February 25: Spaniard David Lopez-Fernandez, 38, was pronounced dead after being found with stab wounds at an address in Globe Road in Tower Hamlets, east London. A 36-year-old man was charged with murder.
February 26: Che Morrison, 20, died after being stabbed to death outside Ilford station in east London.
March 1: Jodie Chesney, 17, was stabbed to death in an east London park.
March 2: A 50-year-old was found dead with fatal knife injuries at a property in Hendon, north-west London. A 54-year-old man was arrested at the scene on suspicion murder.
March 2: A baby girl, aged three months, was found dead at a residential address in Croydon. A 40-year-old woman has been charged with murder.
March 6: A man, named locally as Carlos Rodriguez, is stabbed to death in Leyton.
‘What we need to see now is a surging of resources from other areas of policing activity into dealing with this spike in knife crime,’ he told the Today programme.
‘And that’s what you do in any organisation when you get a specific problem occurring in one area of the operation – you move resources to deal with that.
‘And what the public will want to know is that this Friday night and this Saturday night there are going to be more police officers focused on dealing with knife crime, and that means necessarily fewer police officers that will be dealing with other lower priority areas of activity.’
He added: ‘If we get the right Brexit deal done, and a smooth exit from the European Union so that we can release the money that we’ve set aside to deal with the possible disruption of a no-deal exit, then that will give us more money still that we can put into public services over the next three years.’
Mr Hammond’s comments on police resources were labelled ‘monstrous’ by Labour, and an ‘insult to grieving families’.
Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott asked Home Office minister Victoria Atkins: ‘Does she accept that many people will find the fact that the Chancellor of the Exchequer is suggesting that all the police have to do is move resources from other areas to fight knife crime is monstrous, and an insult to grieving families?’
Ms Atkins did not directly address the question in her response, but pointed to the Government decision to ‘increase police resources by nearly a billion pounds’ last month.
Today, police chiefs wrote to Mrs May to warn that a ‘broken’ school exclusion system is linked to the surge in knife crime. Mr Khan co-signed the letter, which calls for an end to unofficial ‘off-rolling’ exclusions.
‘Clearly, the way the education system deals with excluded young people is broken,’ the letter said.
‘It cannot be right that so many of those who have committed offences have been excluded from school or were outside of mainstream education.
‘That is why the time has come to act urgently. In the first instance, local authorities need powers and responsibilities over all school exclusions.
‘Time and again we are hearing how the fragmentation of the education system, and the breaking of the link between schools and local authorities, has led to a lack of accountability, co-ordination and action.’
The letter, signed by six Police and Crime Commissioners in England and one in Wales, follows a sharp rise in exclusions in London and the West Midlands – two areas worst-hit by knife violence.
Figures show permanent exclusions in England increased by 56% between 2013-14 and 2016-17.
There was a 40% rise in London and 62% rise in the West Midlands during that period, according to Department for Education data.
The letter adds: ‘There is significant variation by schools as to what will result in exclusion, with many excluded pupils moving between local authority areas and also out of their cities.
‘The practice of off-rolling must be outlawed.’
Some schools have been accused of off-rolling – removing difficult-to-teach pupils from registers – to boost their average exam results.
In December last year Ofsted found thousands of children ‘disappearing’ from school rolls around GCSE exam times between January 2016 and January 2017.
The Government is also urged to increase funding for schools to improve early intervention for children at risk of exclusion.
‘Our schools are facing significant funding pressures and many interventions for our most vulnerable children are being cut. This cannot be right and schools must have the necessary resources to deliver good interventions and support to those at risk of exclusion,’ the letter says.
An officer mans a cordon today on North Birkbeck Road in Leyton, east London, where a man was stabbed to death last night
Flowers at the scene in Leyton (left) and a blood smear near to where the body was found
Composite picture of some of the people who have lost their lives to knife crime this year. Top row, from left: Tudor Simionov, Jaden Moodie, Nedim Bilgin, Lejean Richards, Dennis Anderson. Middle row, from left: Patrick Hill, Sidali Mohamed, Bright Akinleye, Abdullah Muhammad, Glendon Spence. Bottom row, from left: Kamali Gabbidon-Lynck, Hazrat Umar, Che Morrison, Jodie Chesney, Yousef Ghaleb Makki
Jodie Chesney’s devastated family call for ‘justice’
Jodie Chesney’s heartbroken father has described his daughter as ‘the nicest person ever’ and that she ‘wouldn’t have done anything to deserve this – no way.’
The 17-year-old Explorer Scout was murdered in a random and unprovoked attack as she sat with her boyfriend and three other friends in a park in Harold Hill.
A man has been arrested in Leicester in connection with the murder.
Her distraught father Peter Chesney, told Sky News today: ‘She was the nicest person any of us know or knew, everything about being kind and good and thoughtful.
‘There’s just no way you could do this to a nicer person. I mean, everybody is going to say that about their own kids obviously, but really, look what everyone is saying in other interviews and stuff, she really was just the nicest person ever.
‘She would not have done anything to deserve this.’
The arrest came after police received a tip-off the suspects travelled to the east Midlands – nearly 115 miles away – following the brutal stabbing.
Mr Chesney added: ‘Someone knows who did this. Just do the right thing.
‘You’ll never know the pain you’ve caused and the beauty you’ve taken away.
‘They’ve destroyed something beautiful here. It’s a disgrace.’
A man has been arrested in Leicester in connection with the murder of Jodie Chesney (pictured), who was stabbed in a park in east London last week. Image undated
There was more knife-related bloodshed overnight on Wednesday as a man was stabbed to death in Leyton, east London, while a 22-year-old man attacked in Oxford on February 27 died in hospital.
West Midlands Police are also investigating whether knives were used in an incident at Matthew Boulton College in Birmingham on Wednesday afternoon, which left two teenagers in hospital.
Sadiq Khan and seven police and crime commissioners sent a letter to the Prime Minister on Thursday warning that a ‘broken’ school exclusion system is exacerbating the surge.
‘It cannot be right that so many of those who have committed offences have been excluded from school or were outside of mainstream education,’ it said.
The letter also urged an end to ‘off-rolling’ – removing pupils from school registers – to increase average exam results.
At the weekend two 17-year-olds, Jodie Chesney and Yousef Makki, were killed in separate stabbings in London and Greater Manchester
On Wednesday, Home Secretary Sajid Javid said after an emergency meeting with chief constables that ‘police resources are very important to deal with this’.
He said the Government must ‘listen’ to police ‘when they talk about resources’.
The Chancellor insisted police budgets were rising, and said knife crime is ‘an immediate problem, you cannot solve it by recruiting and training more officers – that takes time’.
The number of police officers across the 43 forces in England and Wales has fallen by more than 20,000 since 2009 but Prime Minister Theresa May has said there was no correlation between the decline and ‘certain crimes’.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn accused her of trying to protect the public ‘on the cheap’.
‘Help, they’re after me’: Horrified witnesses reveal how man in his 20s was ‘stabbed six times in his own home before he was chased barefoot before bleeding to death in London street’
Horrified witnesses have described how a man in his 20s shouted ‘help, they’re after me’ as he fled barefoot from his house after being stabbed six times before bleeding to death in the street.
The man, named locally as Carlos Rodriguez, was helped by onlookers who tried to stem his wounds and give him CPR as a suspect fled the scene in Leyton, east London, according to a witness.
The woman, who did not want to be named, told MailOnline: ‘He got stabbed at the flats over there – he came running for life. He was screaming for help and crying, he just kept repeating ‘help, help, help, they are after me’.’
A police tent set up behind the police cordon is covering the crime scene as forensic officers conduct their enquiries
Forensic officers remove items from the scene of yesterday’s stabbing in Leyton, east London
Police officers fought in vain to save Britain’s latest stabbing victim, pleading with the dying man ‘My friend. Can you hear me? Talk to me’.
The unnamed female witness said: ‘He ran towards here and then collapsed on the ground. I was inside and my husband who saw it came running in and said call an ambulance.
‘We went outside and a woman was giving him CPR, so many people were trying to help him. He tried to get up but collapsed again, he was asking for water. He was bleeding so much he was turning blue.
‘I was on the phone to ambulance telling them needed to come straight away – people were getting towels so soak up the blood – a girl had blood all over her hands. We were all in shock.’
She said a woman was asking the victim what his name was but ‘all he could say was that he was Spanish’.
‘When the paramedics arrived they took off his shirt and trousers – he had stab wounds all over his body, about six, in his chest, in his legs – there was one in the back of his head,’ the witness continued.
‘The paramedics opened his chest to tried and save him – you could see his ribs and his heart. They did everything they could but it was too late.
‘I asked if he was gone and they said yes – my husband is all over of the place because he looked him in the eye and said he would be ok. It’s terrible.
‘I was talking to people last night that saw a man running from the scene – they think he was involved.’
Despite frantic efforts by police, and witnesses who rushed to bring blankets to the injured man and gave him a cushion to rest his head, the man died at the scene in East Leyton at around 5.10pm.
An officer mans a cordon today on North Birkbeck Road in Leyton, where a man was stabbed to death last night
A police officer inspects one of the floral tributes left for the stabbing victim in Leyton today
Officers cut away his clothes and attempted to stem the flow of blood before paramedics arrived. One was heard to say as he cut away the trousers: ‘He’s been stabbed in the leg too.’
As blood poured out of the victim’s body a bystander screamed: ‘Oh my god.’ The officer begged the victim to stay awake at one stage pleading: ‘My friend. Mate, mate, mate, talk to me. Can you hear me.’
Another officer says: ‘Are you with me? No, he’s going.’
Within minutes paramedics arrived and took over giving him oxygen and attempted to save his life. The officer could be heard desperately urging the victim to ‘stay with me’ as the ambulance arrived and paramedics took over.
Security worker Waqas Sadiq, 33, told MailOnline: ‘When I came outside I saw a guy lying on the ground – he was a white guy between 20 and 25, he was lying down on his back.
‘There were officers and paramedics trying to save him, I saw he had two stab wounds on the right side of his chest.
‘He was breathing at the time and the paramedics were giving him injections near the stab wounds.
‘Then at about 5pm or 5.10pm he took his last breath – he put his hands in the air and that was it, the paramedic took out the breathing device. That was his last moment.’
Mr Sadiq said there were ‘about 15 people’ surrounding the man when he died.
‘People said he was chased down the street from his home and he just collapsed in the street,’ he said.
‘He wasn’t wearing trousers or shoes, just a shirt. When the paramedics lifted him on his side I could see a lot of stab wounds in his back. There was a lot of blood.’
Police at the scene of the Leyton stabbing today as the victim was named locally as Carlos Rodriguez
One resident of North Birkbeck Road told how she saw the victim’s body being covered by a sheet. ‘It was terrible. The body was face-down and he was dead,’ she said.
‘It is so sad that a young life has been taken. Yet another stabbing! What is going on? Who is going to do something?’
Another resident said: ‘My thoughts are with that poor man who is been killed and his family.’
Police say the victim knew the suspect and they do not believe the incident was gang related. No arrests have been made.
In a statement, Scotland Yard said: ‘Police are in the process of informing his next of kin. No arrests have been made. A crime scene remains in place. Enquiries continue. A post-mortem examination will take place in due course. Formal identification awaits. Enquiries continue at the scene.
‘The Homicide and Major Crime Command are investigating and appealing for witnesses to come forward. Anyone with information concerning this incident is urge to call police via 101 quoting CAD 5145/6 March or Crimestoppers anonymously via 0800 555 111.’
On Tuesday, police announced they had arrested a man in Leicester in connection with the murder of Jodie Chesney.
Police riots shields partially cover blood stains on the pavement at North Birkbeck Road, where the stabbing happened