Mayor answers to London
Question by Len Duvall
Thank you, Chair. I will stay with the question. In collating information, Mr Mayor, knife crime and serious youth crime violence does not seem to appear on this website. Is that because according to the latest Metropolitan Police Service figures and the information provided by your office to me, last year, there were 5,503 young victims of knife crime? This is an actual increase of 23% since you took office. Serious youth violence - and I stress the word serious here - has risen every year since you have been elected. You said in November last year, Serious youth violence, I am pleased to say, is coming down. Why did you say it was going down?
Answer by Boris Johnson (1st Term)
Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): You are asking questions about details that do not appear on the website, you say, but I will happily give you the figures.
Jennette Arnold (Chair): No, I heard Assembly Member Duvall say that it was on the website.
Len Duvall (AM): I am sorry. It was omitted from the website, but in collating information, Chair, by City Hall, that was passed to the website. The Mayor has admitted it is quite acceptable that City Hall officials can pass information to the website. There is obviously information that has been passed to me by City Hall officials that are working in the Mayors office that have not been passed to the website. I am asking the Mayor why that is the case. Why are they omitted? Are they omitted because he knows crime is going up?
Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): No.
Len Duvall (AM): Crime is going up in serious youth violence.
Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): No, it is not.
Len Duvall (AM): It is there.
Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): With respect to Len, can I clarify?
Jennette Arnold (Chair): I have another point of order and this point of order comes from Assembly Member Cleverly.
James Cleverly (AM): Thank you, Chair. Mr Duvall is making specific points about statistics not on the website. If his question is ruled in order, there are a number of issues that are not on the BackBoris2012 website that I might want to explore, including the recent racing results from Sandown, the US presidential election, etc. I find it difficult to understand how a question that is specifically about information for the BackBoris2012 website could then stray into discussion about statistics which are specifically not on the BackBoris2012 website.
Jennette Arnold (Chair): Can I say I do not really share Members humour about this issue.
James Cleverly (AM): Absolutely no humour at all.
Jennette Arnold (Chair): I would like a straightforward question from you, Mr Duvall, about the question in front of us. Can you rephrase the question?
Len Duvall (AM): Chair, I will rephrase the question.
Jennette Arnold (Chair): You can rephrase your question so that it meets the criteria of the question in front of you.
Len Duvall (AM): In passing information to your website from City Hall officials, did they include issues around knife crime and serious youth violence?
Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): Yes.
Len Duvall (AM): Why does it not appear, if they did?
Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): Obviously, people will understand that I do not myself compile the BackBoris website, nor do I have any direct oversight of it. What I will say - and this is the thing that I think, Jennette, you will want to hear and what Londoners will want to hear - is that overall if you compare the 44 months I have been in office with the previous 44 months or 45 months, there has been a 10.8% fall in crime. You speak about violence, Len. Violence against the person has actually gone down by 9.7%. The murder rate is down now by more than a quarter. It is down by 25.9%. That is a very considerable credit to the men and women in the Metropolitan Police Service and I believe we should pay tribute to them.
Len Duvall (AM): Mr Mayor, there were 5,503 victims of knife crime. This is an increase of 23% since you took office. These figures are provided by your officials to me. Serious youth crime has risen every year since you were elected. You have said it was going down. You have not answered the question why you said in November it was going down.
Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): I have answered the question.
Jennette Arnold (Chair): Mr Duvall.
Len Duvall (AM): Chair, if I can just go on to another question.
Jennette Arnold (Chair): No, Mr Duvall, no. I am going to refer --
Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): I will answer any question.
Jennette Arnold (Chair): No, stop a minute. We have another question just three questions away, tackling gang crime, and I will then take that question under that question.
Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): Fine.
Jennette Arnold (Chair): Go back to where it is relevant. If there is no other question on this area, I want to move on. No, I have ruled, because I have heard - and it is for the record - the Mayor has said on record that he does not have any direct relationship with the BackBoris2012 website. Is that what you are saying on the record?
Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): I may have looked at it a long time ago. I do not compose it. I do not write it.
Jennette Arnold (Chair): Is it on record?
Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): I do not exclude --
Jennette Arnold (Chair): This is important.
Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): Yes, it is important, so let me just say for the avoidance of doubt that I do not exclude that in the course of the next few months I may write something that appears on their website.
Len Duvall (AM): As long as it is correct.
Jennette Arnold (Chair): Can we have on record that it is absolutely in breach and against the law for you to be using in any way City Hall resources to support any activity you do. I want it on the record, because that is what this question is about.
Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): Yes, I understand.
Jennette Arnold (Chair): I would like the Mayor to confirm his understanding of that so that we are clear before we move away from this question.
Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): I understand that completely and I think that Londoners will want this distinction to be maintained. Obviously, I will not be doing it in my mayoral capacity, but it may be that I write something that appears on that website.
Jennette Arnold (Chair): Thank you. Deputy Mayor Barnes.