Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has hit out at the government for “failing in their basic duty to keep people safe” after four people were shot in the capital over the Bank Holiday weekend.
Khan said on Monday that the Metropolitan Police Service was “overstretched and under-resourced”, blaming £1 billion of spending cuts imposed on the force.
The Home Office said that police “have the resources they need to carry out their vital work” in a statement to HuffPost UK, adding that police spending has increased by about £460 million in 2018/19.
Extra patrols will be working on Bank Holiday Monday, including armed police units, Scotland Yard said.
On Saturday, 17-year-old Rhyhiem Ainsworth Barton was shot dead near his home in Southwark, south London.
A 22-year-old man was shot in New Cross Road, Lewisham, at around 6.30pm on Sunday.
Elsewhere in the capital in Wealdstone, north west London, a 15-year-old boy suffered head injuries caused by “a number of shotgun pellets”, Scotland Yard said.
Police said that a 13-year-old boy who was an innocent bystander was also shot in the head while he was walking down the street with his parents.
Neither of young victims’ conditions are thought to be life-threatening.
A 39-year-old man was arrested on Sunday evening in connection with the Wealdstone incident. He has been released under investigation.
A man, 43, was also stabbed in Ealing following a driving dispute on Sunday. His injuries are not believed to be life-threatening.
The Metropolitan Police is investigating more than 60 alleged murders so far this year in London.
Khan said the violent crime in London is “simply unacceptable”, adding: “It cannot be tolerated.”
The Mayor of London said: “Keeping Londoners safe is my top priority – I remain in constant contact with the Metropolitan Police and am reassured that they are doing everything they can to bring those responsible to justice and to keep us all safe.
“However, the police service in London, like the rest of the country, is overstretched and under-resourced.
“Violent crime has been rising across the country since 2014 and the Government is failing in their basic duty to keep people safe – imposing cuts of £1bn on the Met Police which risk sending police numbers to historically low levels.
“The Home Office’s own evidence shows you cannot keep cutting without consequences, and violent crime devastates communities and ruins lives.
“As Mayor I’m doing all I can to compensate for the failure of ministers.”
Khan said that City Hall is investing an additional £110 million in the Met to boost police numbers, as well as a new £45 million fund to help tackle the causes of violent crime and support young people to turn away from criminality.
“I refuse to accept that nothing can be done to stem the appalling tide of violent killings we are seeing on our streets and together with the police, community groups, victims and their families and Londoners, will continue to work ceaselessly to tackle violent crime,” Khan added.
Home Secretary Sajid Javid said he was “appalled” to hear about these latest attacks on children.
“Serious violence is robbing too many young people of their futures and I will work with anyone determined to tackle it,” Javid said.
The Home Office said there were more police officers for each Londoner than anywhere else in the country, adding that the Metropolitan Police is receiving more than £2.5 billion in direct resource funding in 2018/19.
Detective Chief Superintendent Simon Messinger said that additional officers will be on the capital’s streets on Monday.
“They are using highly visible local patrols supported by armed response, traffic motorcycles, dog units, and air support – alongside plain clothes intelligence-led operations. Violence has no place on our streets,” Messinger said.
The mother of shooting victim Rhyhiem Ainsworth Barton made a plea on Sunday for the violence to stop.
Pretana Morgan told reporters near her home in the Brandon Estate: “We do not need this. We cannot be doing this all the time, teenagers you need to stop please.
“Enjoy your life, your youth, get knowledge in your head, get wisdom and knowledge.
“You only have one life, you better make use of it.”