Monday, 13 February 2012

Ken Livingstone's dodgy knife crime claims

I've spent the past week trying and failing to get Ken Livingstone's team to prove their claims that "knife crime has risen every year" and that "Knife crime is up 13.6%" under Boris.

The only source they will point to is this page on the MPA website which does show that knife crime has risen by 13.6%.

However, this only refers to the period between November 2010 and October 2011. No previous years are listed.

The Metropolitan Police don't publish knife crime statistics on their crime figures website and so I've had to search through their annual reports.

For previous years I've found that:

  • In 2010/11 "Overall knife crime increased by 5.7%"
  • In 2009/10   "knife crime showed a slight increase of +2.2%"

So there does seem to be a significant rise in knife crime in recent years. However in Boris's first year as Mayor there is a very different picture:

  • In 2008/09 "Number of serious violent knife crimes per 1,000 population" went down 13.3%

So there was actually a big fall in Boris's first year, possibly related to the crackdown launched by the Met that year and also possibly due to a spike in knife crime the year before.

Therefore Ken's claim that "knife crime has risen every year under Boris" is not true.

And his claim that knife crime is up 13.6% under Boris is also misleading. Taken on aggregate the total rise in knife crime appears to only be somewhere around the 6% mark.

That's still a significant rise for a man who's campaign to be Mayor relied so heavily on tackling knife crime, but it's nothing like what Ken's team are claiming.

Boris Johnson meanwhile also continues to mislead the public, by claiming that "knife crime is down 8-9%" under his Mayoralty.

Where he's pulled this figure from I've no idea, although presumably it's using the same dodgy counting methods I exposed before.

However looking at the Met's own statistics it's clear that knife crime is up and significantly up under Boris. 

This is even more the case when you look at knife crime involving young people, as Dave Hill has reported.

These are powerful facts for an opposition candidate to throw at the Mayor.

However, rather than use those facts, Ken has oversold his case and missed what should be an easy hit for an opposition politician.

In order to win, Ken needs to beat or at least run Boris very close, on crime.

This is more than possible as I shall spell out later, but in order to do so Ken should stick to the facts. So far he hasn't.

More at The Scoop: Why Ken has won on transport but is losing on crime


Anonymous said...

knife crime has not gone away and incidents are happening on a daily bases across the uk. I run ANTI-KNIFE UK on FB and post incidents from across the uk. Ken and Boris are both trying to win to become mayor of London.....but trying to hoodwink voters with knife crime figures is wrong.

AdamB said...

- Update - Ken's team have now been in touch with some more sources which also show significant rises in knife crime over the past three years.

See figure 7 here:

and this report here which shows a 15% rise in knife crime between April and September last year.

However they don't deal with the big fall in Boris's first year as Mayor pointed out above.

Anonymous said...

well one thing it all goes to show is that banning knives really does worked! And not dealing with the underlying social psychological issues has seen our city go from strength to strength. And now parents are leaving parenting to the schools the future we'll all reap will be a beautiful one *disengage sarcasm chip*

On a side note the Captcha I had to fill out (at the bottom of this comment) is 'staboass ourin'. You couldn't write that yourself :)