The killing of teenager Junior Jah in the borough of Newham happened just a stone’s throw from Mayor Sadiq Khan‘s new City Hall – leaving those in the area too terrified to leave their own homes.
The 18-year-old was killed just four years after his brother Ahmed, 21, was stabbed to death in the same area as he bought a soft drink.
The killing of teenager Junior Jah in the borough of Newham happened just a stone’s throw from Mayor Sadiq Khan’s new City Hall – leaving those in the area too terrified to leave their own homes
The 18-year-old was killed just four years after his brother Ahmed, 21, was stabbed to death in the same area as he bought a soft drink
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, pictured yesterday at the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Neasden, was accused by his Conservative rival for mayor Shaun Bailey of cutting £38 million from police budgets and closing 38 police stations
And in the past four months, 12 teenagers have been stabbed to death in the capital, and there are fears the killings could reignite the gang wars that have plagued the city during Mr Khan’s term as London Mayor.
It is all the more galling to the victims’ families that the latest murder took place in the shadow of the Mayor’s ‘vanity project’ – The Crystal building, soon to be his new office.
Barring a political earthquake, voters are set to give the Labour politician another five years in office at the local elections this week.
Londoners cite crime as their No 1 concern but Mr Khan’s critics accuse him of being preoccupied with traffic-calming measures and crippling increases to the Congestion Charge.
Conservative mayoral candidate Shaun Bailey said: ‘How many tragedies will it take before Sadiq Khan actually takes responsibility for rising crime in London?’
Since Mr Khan came to office in May 2016, at least 114 teenagers have been murdered. Of those, ten were killed in Newham – including two last month. According to police statistics, 6,335 crimes have been reported to police within walking distance of the new City Hall in the past three years, including 1,357 violent or sexual offences.
The latest murder took place in the shadow of the Mayor’s ‘vanity project’ – The Crystal building, soon to be his new office
Despite the tsunami of crime, two nearby police stations, Plaistow and Stratford, were closed in 2017 to save about £540,000 a year.
Mr Bailey added: ‘Since becoming Mayor, Sadiq Khan has cut £38 million from police budgets and closed 38 police stations.
‘And while he can’t seem to find the money to hire more police or reopen police stations, he can seem to find millions to move City Hall to Newham – a pointless vanity project that won’t improve the lives of any Londoners.’
The stations have been replaced with contact points in libraries, supermarkets and post offices – but that is not enough for the people of Canning Town.
Dave Marquis, 67, told The Mail on Sunday: ‘I’ve lived here for 30 years. They lost control of this area ten years ago. There aren’t enough policemen on the streets.
‘I want to see police officers walking the beat like they used to when I was a child and actually talking to the community they serve. Sadiq Khan is not doing enough to tackle this and the proof is right there with what happened last week [to Junior Jah]. He needs to get more policemen on the streets but instead he’s obsessed with trying to charge us just for owning cars.’
Just three days before Junior was killed, Fares Maatou, 14, was stabbed to death in Canning Town
Another resident, who did not wish to be named, said they were too frightened to leave their home in the evening, adding: ‘I’ve lived here all my life and it’s definitely getting worse. The gangs are trying to take over and are getting more violent.
‘All of my children have moved out to Essex and they want me to move too. I used to walk my dog around here at night but I won’t do that any more. It’s just not safe.’
One resident tried to come to the aid of Junior, who was attacked in Coolfin Road last Monday.
She said: ‘I undid his jacket and checked his pulse – he had a gunshot wound in his chest, it was bleeding badly.’ Comparing parts of London to notorious areas of New York, she said: ‘This is gang-related and I don’t want gunshots outside my house – this place is like the Bronx now.’
Just three days before Junior was killed, Fares Maatou, 14, was stabbed to death in Canning Town.
Locals say the Freemasons estate, where the Jah brothers lost their lives, has been run down for years. And yet it is in the shadow of the Royal Victoria Dock, lined with new buildings, cranes and The Crystal, constructed in 2012 at a cost of £30 million.
Mr Khan plans to move the current City Hall staff into the angular steel-and-glass building at the end of the year, with at least £13.6 million budgeted for the move plus £3.3 million for renovations. However, it is too small to accommodate everyone so some staff will have to work from London Fire Brigade’s headquarters in Southwark.
While the move is designed to save an estimated £60 million over the next five years, the Conservatives and Lib Dems on the London Assembly have expressed frustration that the numbers ‘don’t add up’.
Nick Vandyke, Tory London Assembly candidate for the area, said that if Mr Khan did come to East London then at least he ‘will notice what is going on’. He added: ‘I don’t think he has his priorities right. There is money that could be spent on policing and on our youth and he isn’t doing that.’
According to police statistics, 6,335 crimes have been reported to police within walking distance of the new City Hall in the past three years, including 1,357 violent or sexual offences
Gabin Sinclair-Constance, director of London programmes at youth charity Leap Confronting Conflict, said funding for youth centres in the capital had been stripped away over the past decade.
He added: ‘For a young person to be killed down the road from his older brother is devastating and it shows that four years of whatever work has taken place in Newham has not even made a dent in the problem.’ Two teenagers, aged 14 and 15, have been charged over the murder of Fares Maatou. There have been no charges relating to the death of Ahmed Jah, while police are appealing for information about Junior’s death.
Last night, a spokesman for Mr Khan said the Mayor’s thoughts and prayers were with the Jah family. He added: ‘The safety of Londoners will always be Sadiq’s top priority. That is why, despite huge Government cuts to police and youth services since 2010, the Mayor has invested more than £1 billion in policing and £70 million in preventative youth services.
‘Sadiq set up England’s first Violence Reduction Unit (VRU) to tackle the underlying causes of violence. The VRU is currently providing targeted support in Newham through the My Ends programme.’
The spokesman said the move from City Hall to The Crystal building was designed to save money long-term, which would be reinvested into the capital ‘including action to tackle violence’.
Source: Daily Mail UK