BBC News: 'When will this change?' Minchin demands answers from Khan over knife crime

This morning’s main topic on BBC Breakfast discussed the rise in knife crime deaths in London and joining Dan Walker, 41, and Louise Minchin, 50 was London Mayor Sadiq Khan.

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Khan appeared on the show to announce the introduction of a new violence reduction unit (VRU) he has set up in order to tackle the increasing violence levels in the capital. 

It comes after another young man died from a knife wound in London last night which adds to the more than 100 people have been murdered in the capital this year alone.

During the interview, Minchin was keen to press the Mayor for definite answers regarding the time it will take for this new approach to deliver results.

“I kind of want to ask you the question this way,” Minchin began.

“So you wake up in the morning, another young man as it happens to be in this case, killed on the streets of London, when do you think this will turn around and start to change?”

“We’re starting to make some progress and reducing the increase in crime we have seen in previous years,” Khan replied.

But he was quick to make it clear the new unit was not going to be a short term solution for the problem. 

“It’s not going to happen over night. In Glasgow it took ten years to turn things around. Clearly it’s not acceptable to wait ten years,” Khan continued.

“Every death is a tragedy for the family, for that community as well, so we want to make progress sooner rather than later. But Glasgow tells us you can’t solve this overnight,” he finished. 

The Mayor described the new approach “treating violent crimes like an infectious disease”.

“That means dealing with the infection, stopping it spreading, and then stopping further infections in the future,” he explained. 

“And that means, successive governments, working with council, working with the police, the NHS, schools, social workers, youth services, community groups, charities, families, to identify what are the causes and then prevent a young person getting into serious violent crime when they are older. Alongside enforcement – that’s really important,” Khan added. 

Earlier on the Breakfast show, viewers saw Tracey Hanson, a mother who lost her son to knife crime, discuss her ordeal and what changes she would like to see from the Mayor. 

Minchin asked Khan how he felt about the number of deaths related to knife crime having risen during his time as Mayor. 

“Tracey talked about, she said very clearly, every single day she lives and breaths fear. This goes right to the heart of people’s lives, doesn’t it?” she probed.

“And their futures, and so much of this has happened on your watch, this big increase – how do you feel about that?” 

“But in London there are things we can do,” Khan defended. “We are determined to be tough on enforcement, making progress in taking knives off our street, guns off our streets and making arrests.”

The Mayor has based London’s new violence reduction unit on Glasgow’s public health approach, when in 2005 Strathclyde police set up a similar model in an effort to address their notorious violence and he hopes that it will “make a difference in London”. 

BBC Breakfast airs weekdays at 6am on BBC One. 

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