Policing in the capital has been the day’s big issue with politicians from all three of the major parties locking horns over the topic.
The day started with Conservative Mayoral candidate Boris Johnson visiting a police station in the Isle of Dogs which is only open from midday onwards to announce his policies to increase police accountability in the capital.
Mr Johnson said he wanted to encourage Londoners to get involved in the current consultation on the proposed local police station closures, direct Borough Commanders hold monthly public meetings and “take a direct role to deliver this by exercising his right to Chair the MPA.”
Mr Johnson remarked that Londoners “don’t want someone who puts their hands up and says there is nothing that can be done to stop crime escalating. The Mayor can do so much to turn the tide. Building bridges between the police and the communities they serve is a good place to start.”
However Johnson was immediately accused of copying policy ideas by the Liberal Democrat candidate Brian Paddick who said “Clearly Boris Johnson has no ideas of his own. I said I would take over as Chair of the MPA at the launch of my campaign, three weeks ago.”
The claim comes a day after Mr Johnson branded Paddick “a copycat Mayor” accusing him of copying policies on Taxi services in the capital, a claim strongly disputed by the Liberal Democrats.
Mr Paddick said “whilst some voters may have thought it was safe to vote for Boris because minders wouldn’t let him out of their sight, his promise to be ‘hands on’ in policing London sends shivers down my spine.”
“Who would Londoners feel most safe with – someone who spent 30 years as a police officer or Boris Johnson, who has already admitted to having no relevant experience of dealing with crime?”
Johnson also clashed with Mayor of London Ken Livingstone over his budget which it’s claimed will provide “an additional 1000 police in London next year”.
In his budget speech Mr Livingstone said the budget meant “London will gain an extra 1000 uniformed police, a major contribution to making our city safer and more secure. The results of more police on the beat on local streets are there for all to see – crime in London fell for the fifth consecutive year in 2007.”
However Johnson dismissed the Mayor’s claims saying “numbers [of officers] are falling and his claim to provide 1,000 extra officers is misleading because it is on Government grants that have not yet been secured.”
A spokesman for Mr Livingstone’s Mayoral campaign said: “Ken has a clear commitment to give London an extra 1,000 uniformed officers over the next year on top of the 10,000 extra police and police community support officers recruited in London over the last eight years. The contrast between Ken’s commitment to extra police and Boris Johnson’s waffle could not be clearer.”