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SADIQ KHAN: London Mayor says violent crime is an "infection" but we are "slowly winn

GRILLING: London Mayor Sadiq Khan let members of the public grill him at the O2 (Jon Austin)

LONDON Mayor Sadiq Khan branded violence in London an "infection" but claimed the war on it is slowly being won as the capital's latest murder victim was named.

Mr Khan spoke last night tonight in a public Q&A when he was grilled over what he was doing to stem the tide of bloodshed.

Yusuf Mohamed, 18, the son of Somalian refugees, was stabbed in the heart while out buying milk in Shepherds Bush, west London, at 9.20pm on Wednesday night.

He was found in a pool of blood on Uxbridge Road after he tried to flee from his attackers into the Intercontinental Foods convenience store, but they followed him in and knifed him again.

Mr Khan said: "We all should be fed up and angry at the young lives being lost.

"We need tough enforcement to make sure we arrest the criminals that are carrying knives, but we cannot arrest our way out of this problem.

"We need to deal with the cause of the crime. If you think of it like an infection, you need to address the infection and stop it spreading." he said that was why London was adopting a "public health" approach to violent crime, which involves bring all public services, charities and community groups together to tackle all aspects of the problem including creating more youth services to deter young people from a life of crime.

PANEL: Sadiq Khan (far right) and his five deputy mayors fielded questions (Jon Austin)

Mr Khan blamed austerity measures since 2010 for London losing thousands of police officers, which had made it harder for the Met to police the streets.

However, he said he had ploughed £234 million into the force in the past few years.

He said the setting up with City Hall cash of a Met Police 300 officer strong Violent Crime Task Force last year had already led to more than 5,000 arrests and around 5,000 guns and knives being seized.

Mr Khan claimed this had already had an effect.

He added: "Some crime levels have gone up, but others have come down.

"Moped enabled crime is down and homicide is down on last year. We are not complacent. It is no silver lining to us but it is going up across the rest of the country.

"Over the last year knife injuries among under 25s have gone down 20 per cent.

"Homicides have gone down 30 per cent. We have made progress, but we want to progress even further."

HOST: LBC DJ James O'Brien hosted the event (Jon Austin)

The Mayor of London State of London event at Indigo, in the O2 arena, North Greenwich, was hosted by LBC radio DJ James O'Brien.

Mr Khan said he formed a dim view of police after being stopped and searched as a youth.

He said: "When I was growing up, if a police officer came down the road, you'd cross over the road, you knew what was going to happen.

"They would stop people who looked like me. Stop and search you and empty your pockets out, often rude.

"It meant that if tomorrow, the police asked me for their assistance, I would be reluctant to do so.

"We have tried to change that relationship between young people, particularly young black, minority ethnic Londoners, and the police."

He claimed rolling out body worn cameras to more police officers had led to them "having the confidence" to carry out more stop and search, with less fear of complaints, while police were also more accountable for their actions.

PLEA: Deputy mayor Sophie Linden said new laws are needed (Jon Austin)

One audience member, Adnan, from west London, asked what was being done about the "no name and no face social media accounts" that are being used by street gangs to goad other gangs, often resulting in knife violence and murders.

Sophie Linden, deputy mayor for policing and crime, said new laws were needed to force internet giants to remove such content, without it leading to censorship.

Mr Khan said he had met with YouTube, Google and Facebook, and asked them to do more to remove such accounts and content that incited violence, including drill music videos that are often used by gangs to incite violence and launch attacks on rivals.

He said: "They have got to do much more in terms of violent crime, terrorism and sexual grooming.

"I sit on the Home Secretary's serious violence crime task force and wen are lobbying Silicone Valley to take action."

Mr Khan also said people outside London who wrongly believed there were no go areas in the capital and that Sharia Law ruled some parts of London were not of the "far right" but had taken their information from social media and other incorrect sources.

He said: "We need to educate them in a non patronising way that this is not the case and about the benefits of diversity and of immigration."

He said both Islamic extremists and those of the far right had to be "taken on."

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