Sian Berry, the Green Party candidate for mayor of London, has promised to eradicate all murders in the city within a decade if she is elected. “Everyone affected by murder and violent crime deserves justice, but it would be far better to have prevented the violence in the first place,” said Berry.
In 2020, there were 127 killings in the capital, despite the coronavirus pandemic. The number of killings in London has exceeded 100 for a sixth consecutive year. Additionally, during the lockdown period, City Hall said there was a 25% increase in calls to the National Domestic Abuse helpline as well as a rise in domestic abuse-related incidents in the capital. The latest figures show that more than 440 people, mainly women, have been referred to an emergency programme to support individuals fleeing domestic violence and abuse. Still, London’s current mayor, Sadiq Khan of the Labour Party, is seeking re-election.
Violence has become a serious issue in London, thus Berry’s commitment to stop this violent streak in the capital. “I’ll fund the schemes which create an environment where violence simply cannot thrive. I’ll divert people away from violence before it happens, and I’ll protect potential victims, rather than sending in the police once the damage is done,” says Berry.
Berry said she would increase funding for the Violence Reduction Unit (VRU) and make it “independent of the mayor’s office.” She also promised to expand the current mayor’s Young Londoner’s Fund, which supports youth schemes aimed at helping those at risk avoid getting caught up in crime. Psychologists and trauma experts will also be made available for police interviews of witnesses and victims of crime. Berry has also committed to achieving zero carbon emissions from London transport by 2030.
Khan has received much criticism for the violence levels in London since his election in 2016. Recently, a retired superintendent who advised the Mayor on policing when he ran for office, Leroy Logan, spoke up about problems with Khan’s actions towards the growing violence in the city. “I don’t mind being tough on crime, but you have to look at the causes of it. There was no emphasis from Sadiq on the early intervention and prevention programmes we had discussed,” says Logan.
Meanwhile, the Labour Party claims that Khan is tackling violence by being both tough on crime and tough on the causes of crime. They also say that he has put more than 1 000 extra officers on the streets and invested in creating positive opportunities for young Londoners.
On May 6th, London’s population will decide the next mayor as well as 25 members of the London Assembly. In London, the mayor has a £19 billion budget and is responsible for Transport for London, the Metropolitan Police, and has a role in housing, planning and the environment. Khan’s main challenger is Conservative Shaun Bailey, but there are still more than 18 candidates running.
While it is a bold promise, Berry is confident about the election and her target of zero murders each year. “Don’t let anyone tell you it can’t be done,” says Sian Berry.