Khan not taking knife crime seriously, says Badenoch after Hainault stabbings

Sadiq Khan has been accused of not taking knife crime “seriously” following a sword attack in east London.

A 14-year-old boy was killed and four people seriously injured during the incident in Hainault on Tuesday morning when a man armed with a sword went on the rampage.

But a spokesperson for Mr Khan accused the minister of “seeking to politicise the awful murder of a child” and said he continued to prioritise securing more funding for the police.

London Mayoral election
Sadiq Khan’s spokesperson accused the Conservatives of trying to ‘politicise’ the attack in Hainault (Jordan Pettitt/PA)

“I don’t think he takes it seriously. He is responsible for enforcement.”

During a debate on LBC a week earlier, Ms Hall had claimed night-time workers told her there were “gangs running around with machetes”, to which Mr Khan said she should “stop watching The Wire”.

Speaking to The Sun’s Never Mind The Ballots, Home Secretary James Cleverly said he had raised the issue of knife crime in London directly with Mr Khan.

He said: “I’ve publicly been critical of what I believe to be a failure of the Mayor to take violent crime in London seriously enough.

“I think comments like that betray our willingness to be really honest about the increase in knife crime in London.”

A spokesperson for Mr Khan said: “It’s quite extraordinary that the Tories are seeking to politicise the awful murder of a child. They have lost all direction and all sense of decency.

“Meanwhile, Sadiq is remaining in constant contact with London’s emergency services about yesterday’s tragic events. His priorities remain securing more funding for the police, and tackling the causes of crime by investing in young people.”

The rate of knife crime in England rose slightly between 2022 and 2023, from 84 to 89 offences per 100,000 people, according to police figures.

In 2023, there were 165 knife offences per 100,000 people in London, an increase compared with the previous year and the second highest knife crime rate in the country. The West Midlands recorded the highest knife crime rate in England, with 180 offences per 100,000 people.

Asked whether tougher legislation was required, Ms Badenoch said enforcement should be the focus.

She said: “We have cracked down numerous times. People keep finding ways to get around them, so there might be more that we can do from a legislative side but I’m one of those people who thinks that bans can only go so far.

“Murder is banned and people are still killing, so enforcement is what we need to focus on.”

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