UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt has defended President Donald Trump’s comments about knife crime in London, saying that he “150 percent” backs the president’s sentiments over the city’s mayor, Sadiq Khan.
Reacting to the recent spate of attacks in London that left four dead in four days, Trump blamed Khan for the rise in violence, while warning that the situation could get worse.
“LONDON needs a new mayor ASAP. Khan is a disaster – will only get worse!” Trump wrote on Twitter on June 15.
LONDON needs a new mayor ASAP. Khan is a disaster – will only get worse! https://t.co/n7qKI3BbD2
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 15, 2019
Although people were quick to criticize Trump for his comments, Hunt told reporters on June 17 that he understands where the president’s sentiments are coming from.
“I wouldn’t use those words myself. But the sentiment is enormous disappointment that we have a Mayor of London who has completely failed to tackle knife crime and has spent more time on politics than the actual business of making London safer, and in that I 150 percent agree with the president,” the foreign secretary said, reported the Financial Times.
Jeremy Hunt defends Donald Trump’s tweets on London knife crime https://t.co/HmsrBStOWl
— Financial Times (@FT) June 17, 2019
Khan has reacted to Trump’s comments on June 17, accusing the president of “amplifying a racist tweet” and being a “poster boy for racists around the world,” reported BBC.
Meanwhile, Khan has blamed the increase of violent crimes on “massive cuts” on police resources, reported Sky News.
London’s murder rates had skyrocketed in recent years, with stabbings also increasing, according to London’s Metropolitan Police. Meanwhile, knife crimes in England and Wales had surged to its highest-ever level between 2017 and 2018.
In a report that was released at the time, Britain’s Office for National Statistics (ONS) said the total of 39,332 recorded knife crimes between July 2017 and June 2018 represents a 12 percent rise in violent crime involving edged weapons and other sharp instruments.
U.K. police say the increase in knife crimes has been driven by several factors, including rivalries between drug gangs, cuts to youth services, and provocations on social media. Moreover, many of these incidents have occurred in poor areas of London.
According to local media, a number of arrests have been made in connection to the four separate murders.
On Friday, June 14, police responded to the stabbing death of an 18-year-old in Wandsworth, south London at about 4:42 p.m. Minutes later, police were called to Plumstead, south-east London where a 19-year-old man was shot dead, reported BBC.
Then on Saturday, June 15, two men were stabbed in Clapham during the early hours of the morning, while another man was stabbed in Brixton. The condition of one of the men in Clapham is still unknown, while the other two are suffering non-life-threatening injuries.
On Saturday afternoon, a man in his thirties was stabbed to death at Tower Hamlets in east London, the news broadcaster also reported.
A fourth death was reported during the early hours of June 17, where a man in his 40s was stabbed to death in Stratford, east London, reported Sky News.
BREAKING: Police have launched a murder investigation after a man is stabbed to death in Stratford.
This is the fourth fatality in London over the past few days.
— Sky News (@SkyNews) June 17, 2019
Local authorities said they were stepping up police patrols and will engage in “operational tactics in targeted locations to prevent further violence and to provide reassurance to the communities in those areas,” according to Scotland Yard’s deputy assistant commissioner Matthew Twist.
Tom Ozimek and Reuters contributed to this report.
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