Official rebuke for Mayor’s claim of ‘falling’ knife crime
Martin Bentham Home Affairs Editor
THE Mayor has been cleared of bringing his office into disrepute after saying anti-Ulez protesters were “joining hands” with the far-Right. Khan was also found not to have breached the code of conduct on bullying in the way he made the remarks — nor of making a racial slur by using the phrase “let’s call a spade a spade”. It follows a probe by the GLA after a meeting in Ealing in March 2.
SADIQ Khan has been rebuked by the official statistics regulator for making an “incorrect” claim about falling knife crime that could mislead the public.
Ed Humpherson, director general at the Office for Statistics Regulation, said that a mayoral press release had been wrong to claim that knife crime in the capital has declined since 2016 when Mr Khan took charge at City Hall. He said that it had “significantly increased across the relevant period” and that his office was “engaging” with City Hall “to encourage it to correct the statement.
“Part of the statement has the potential to mislead the public,” a letter from Mr Humpherson states. The rebuke follows a complaint to the office about a press release in July that contained quotes from Mr Khan and the claim that “knife and gun crime, homicides and burglary have all fallen since 2016”. The release, which sought to blame any rise in violent crime in the capital on cost of living pressures and the absence of government funding, was issued minutes before official Office for National Statistics data was published showing a big rise in knife crime.
The data showed there were 12,786 knife offences in London in the 12 months to the end of March this year.
That represented a 40 per cent rise on the 9,086 knife crimes in the capital during the equivalent 12-month period to the end of March 2016.
The 2023 total of 12,786 was also up on the 11,231 knife offences recorded by police in the year to the end of March 2017. City Hall tried to defend the claim about knife crime by citing Met figures showing a decline since 2016 in the number of offences with injury affecting people under 25. But Mr Humpherson said the mayoral statement had not been “clear on the source of the claims” and was “not in line with best practice”.
Despite the request for a correction by the statistics regulator, the false claim about falling knife crime made in the Mayor’s press release, issued on July 20, remained uncorrected online until the Standard published the story.
More recent Office for National Statistics figures have shown a further large rise in knife crime in London with 13,503 offences recorded in the capital in the year to the end of June.
Evening Standard Limited