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Sadiq Khan is ticked off by the ONS for falsely claiming that knife crime had fallen in London


  • A press release sent in July claimed knife and gun crime had fallen since 2016 

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has been rebuked by the statistics regulator for a false claim about falling knife crime that may mislead the public.

The mayor’s office issued a press release in July claiming that ‘knife and gun crime, homicides and burglary have all fallen since 2016’ when he took charge of City Hall.

The ‘incorrect’ release, which warned that cost of living pressures and the absence of government funding could ‘undo the capital’s fall in violent crime’, was issued minutes before official Office for National Statistics data was published showing a 40 per cent rise in knife crime.

Yesterday Ed Humpherson, director-general at the Office for Statistics Regulation, said it was ‘incorrect’ to say that knife crime in the capital had declined during Mr Khan’s tenure.

In fact, knife crime has ‘significantly increased across the relevant period’, Mr Humpherson said, adding that his office was ‘engaging’ with City Hall ‘to encourage’ officials to correct the statement

‘Part of the statement is incorrect and has the potential to mislead the public,’ a letter from Mr Humpherson said.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has been rebuked by the statistics regulator for a false claim about falling knife crime that may mislead the public

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has been rebuked by the statistics regulator for a false claim about falling knife crime that may mislead the public

ONS figures revealed a 40 per cent rise in knife offences during his time in office from 9,086 crimes recorded in the capital in the year to the end of March 2016 to 12,786 offences in the same period in 2023 (Stock Image)

ONS figures revealed a 40 per cent rise in knife offences during his time in office from 9,086 crimes recorded in the capital in the year to the end of March 2016 to 12,786 offences in the same period in 2023 (Stock Image) 

The row comes after a complaint was made about the press release, which contained quotes from Mr Khan and boasted that knife crime had fallen ‘as a result of the Mayor’s relentless focus on tackling violent crime’.

But in reality, ONS figures revealed a 40 per cent rise in knife offences during his time in office from 9,086 crimes recorded in the capital in the year to the end of March 2016 to 12,786 offences in the same period in 2023.

More recently ONS figures show that knife crime in London has continued to grow, soaring to 13,503 offences by the end of June, which included a 36 per cent increase in knife-enabled robberies.

In September 15-year-old Elianne Andam was stabbed to death with a kitchen knife on her way to school. 20 teens have been murdered in the capital in 2023.

City Hall tried to defend the claim about falling knife crime by citing Met figures showing a decline since 2016 in the number of offences with injury affecting people under 25.

But Mr Humpherson said the mayoral statement had not been ‘clear on the source of the claims’ made about falling knife crime and was ‘not in line with best practice’.

A spokesman for the Mayor said that the press release had been amended and ‘further detail has been added to a press release issued in July 2023 around the specific reductions achieved with knife crime in the capital’.

The amended release makes it clear that it is knife crime with injury involving victims aged under 25 that has fallen since 2016, rather than knife crime overall.



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