Mayor Of London Sadiq Khan has responded to criticism from Liam Gallagher over the level of knife crime in the city.
The former Oasis and Beady Eye frontman turned solo star spoke of his fears for the safety of his children in the capital, in the wake of four people being victims of knife crime within four days last weekend.
“Every time you wake up in the morning, there’s some 16-year-old kid been knifed to death,” Gallagher told BBC Breakfast. “I’ve got kids that age, out and about and that, doing their thing, living, being young. That freaks me right out – it does worry me. I’ve got teenagers.”
He continued: “I’d have a word with that mayor – he seems to not be doing a good job, all them kids getting knifed and all that. The only thing that ever comes out of his mouth is, ‘London is open.’ What, open for knife crime and dying and stuff?”
However, Khan hit back and said that knife crime was so high as a result of government cuts.
“I can understand why any parent – and I speak as a parent of teenage children as Liam Gallagher is – would be concerned about violent crime,” he told Radio X.
He continued: “We’ve got to make sure we use that energy to try and save lives in our city. That’s not just us from city hall, but those concerned to help me lobby the government. We’ve lost over the last eight, nine years 3,500 police officers, 3,500 community support officers. In the last three years since I’ve been there, we’ve invested unlike the previous eight more than £230 million in our police from council tax increases and business rates increases…”
Khan added: “So if Liam Gallagher and others want to work with me to lobby the government, honestly the more hands that get involved, the more voices that get involved the better.”
Police officials have declared the spate of knife crime as “a national emergency”. In the first two months of 2019 there were 17 homicides in London, where 35% of all knife crimes are committed. Donald Trump is among those to have criticised Khan for the rise in stabbings, who maintains that he and the Metropolitan Police are doing all they can but struggling with cuts to policing by the Conservative government.
“In London we are prioritising our efforts towards tackling violent crime, tackling knife crime,” said Khan back in March. “I myself have directed officers to move from roads and transport to do the violent crime taskforce work, so we are really prioritising the resources we have to deal with the issue of the increasing violent crime.
“The stark reality is in London over the last eight years, we have lost more than £800 million of funding from central Government, we’re being asked to make a further round of cuts of £200 million from central Government – that’s a billion pounds lost from the Met Police budget.
“Re-prioritising, increasing council tax, diverting business rates money away doesn’t fill the massive hole left by central Government cuts.”
The same interview also saw Gallagher claim that he would “crack politicians round the head” if he spotted them taking drugs”. This comes after Gallagher also joked that he should be in line to be next Prime Minister.
Gallagher performs at Glastonbury festival this weekend. He releases his second solo album ‘Why Me? Why Not’ on September 20.