More dodgy crime claims from Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson has released his new Policing Plan today. To mark the occasion he has written about his glorious record at cutting crime in the Daily Telegraph. The problem is that Boris's record at cutting crime just doesn't stand up to scrutiny.

Adam Bienkov is a journalist and blogger covering London and UK politics

Boris Johnson released his new Policing Plan today. To mark the occasion he has written about his glorious record at cutting crime in the Daily Telegraph:

“In London virtually every single crime type is down – everything including violent crime, car crime, vandalism, knife crime, youth violence, burglary, murder and robbery. It came down under my predecessor, and crime has fallen a further 13 per cent since I have been mayor.”

This just isn’t true. Violent crime, car crime, vandalism and murders have all come down in recent years. However, Knife crime, youth violence, burglaries and robberies have all gone up.

Here’s the latest full year totals of crimes recorded by the Metropolitan Police so you can judge for yourself.


In 2007-08 there were 37,000 robberies.
In 2008-09 there were 32,555 robberies.
In 2009-10 there were 33,470 robberies.
In 2010-11 there were 35,850 robberies.
In 2011-12 there were 38,897 robberies.

So robberies have gone up to an even higher level than they were when he was first elected.

In 2007-08 there were 93,894 burglaries.
In 2008-09 there were 93,553 burglaries.
In 2009-10 there were 92,796 burglaries.
In 2010-11 there were 93,375 burglaries.
In 2011-12 there were 96,181 burglaries.
Burglaries are up.
Knife Crime:
In 2008-09 there were 12,233 knife crimes.
In 2009-10 there were 12,560 knife crimes.
In 2010-11 there were 13,285 knife crimes.
In 2011-12 there were 14,121 knife crimes.
There has been a 15 per cent rise in knife crime over the last few years according to these figures given to Parliament. (pdf)
Youth violence:
In 2008-09 there were 6675 serious youth violence offences.
In 2009-10 there were 6777 serious youth violence offences.
In 2010-11 there were 6872 serious youth violence offences.
In 2011-12 there were 6906 serious youth violence offences.

Serious youth violence has also gone up in recent years according to these figures released under Freedom of Information.

The only way that Boris can claim that robbery, burglary, knife crime and youth violence are down is by cooking the books.

Full Fact said last year of his method:

“measuring crime in this way is seriously problematic and masks crime trends during his own time in office”.

As it clearly does when you look at the above figures.
The broader trend on crime is better for Boris. Here are the total recorded crimes over recent years.
Total Crimes
In 2007-08 there were 862,032 recorded crimes in London.
In 2008-09 there were 844,911 recorded crimes in London.
In 2009-10 there were 829,406 recorded crimes in London.
In 2010-11 there were 822,961 recorded crimes in London.
In 2011-12 there were 814,626 recorded crimes in London.

So crime has come down in London over recent years. However, it has only come down by about 5 per cent, not by the 13 per cent claimed by the Mayor.

Now there was a big drop in crime around the time of the Olympics last year, but even if you take the latest monthly figures, there has still only been around an 8 per cent drop in crime since 2008.

My only criticism of Eddie Mair’s interview with Boris yesterday is that it was yet another interview in which he wasn’t questioned on his actual record.

The BBC had to go all the way back to his time with Michael Howard to find an example of his dishonesty.

Anybody who has followed his time as mayor knows that there are plenty more examples closer to hand.

Like this article? Left Foot Forward relies on support from readers to sustain our progressive journalism. Can you become a supporter for £5 a month?

4 Responses to “More dodgy crime claims from Boris Johnson”

  1. LB

    And what about the736 bn a year increase ins debts under labour?

  2. henrytinsley

    What’s that got to do with this article?

  3. angie sinclaire

    He did in all fairness say virtually every crime was down, but he does need to do more investigation before he opens his mouth. Boris Johnson, engage brain before opening one’s mouth…

  4. LB


    The article is about statistics, and Boris manipulating them.

    I’m pointing out that Labour’s done the same with something far more serious.

    736 billion a year hidden off the debts means no pensions. Think through the consequences of 30% of the population with no savings getting no pension.

    All down to doing the same thing.

Leave a Reply