London mayor election: More police officers pledged

The front-runners for next month's London Mayoral Election have both promised more police officers for the capital.

Existing mayor Conservative Boris Johnson said if he was re-elected he would commit an extra 2,000 officers on safer neighbourhood teams.

His opponent, Labour's Ken Livingstone, pledged a police officer to be based in every state secondary school.

Londoners are due to go to the polls on Thursday, 3 May.

Mr Johnson said his pledge of the extra officers would be the "biggest boost to neighbourhood police since its introduction".

He proposed working with the Met Police Commissioner to add up to three police officers to every team and three special constables.

He said: "I will take London forward by further strengthening the police and driving a renewed focus on street policing to ensure the capital is one of the safest cities in the world to work and live."

As part of his crime manifesto, he also promised to maintain the extra 1,000 police officers on the streets, double the number of special constables to 10,000 and establish a Safer Neighbourhood Board in every borough to "give local Londoners and victims a greater voice".

Meanwhile, Labour's candidate said he would offer each of the 432 state-funded secondary schools in London a dedicated police officer, who would be committed to tackling knife crime.

He said his plan would "break down barriers between young Londoners and the police and help break the cycle of violence".

'Endless gimmicks'

He also said that, if elected, he would back London Citizens' 'City Safe Havens' scheme, which works with local businesses to allow a place of safety for those in immediate danger.

He said: "The mayor's endless gimmicks haven't cracked the problem. Growing levels of knife crime we are seeing on our streets are a serious concern."

A spokesman for the Liberal Democrats' candidate Brian Paddick said: "With 30 years' experience policing the streets of London, Brian Paddick is the only candidate for mayor who has real experience of keeping you safe.

"We need to get the police working together with people and communities in London, which is exactly what Brian Paddick did when he was area commander for Lambeth."

Jenny Jones, the Green Party candidate, said she backed Mr Livingstone's idea for police officers in schools.

She added: "I don't believe Boris is going to increase safer neighbourhood teams. He's just cut them."

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