Page last updated at 15:43 GMT, Friday, 28 March 2008

Mayor's pledge to keep crime down

Ken Livingstone
Mr Livingstone said his decisions had led to increased policing

Ken Livingstone has said he has the track record to cut London's crime rate as he unveiled his policing manifesto.

Pledging to focus on anti-terrorism and youth murders, London's mayor said he had overseen increased police numbers and five years of falling crime.

His Tory rival Boris Johnson pledged to make tackling crime his top priority as he outlined plans to help the elderly.

Lib Dem candidate Brian Paddick, a former police commander, has said he will cut crime by 20% or stand down.

Both Mr Paddick and Mr Johnson say violent crime has soared during Mr Livingstone's eight years as London mayor.

Launching his policing manifesto, Mr Livingstone said he would concentrate on five key areas: counter-terrorism; youth murders; rape and domestic violence; drugs; and ethnic diversity among officers.

Teenage murders

He said it had been his decision to finance an extra 6,000 officers and 4,000 Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) and said crime had fallen for the past five years - by an average of 5.5% in the last three years.

He said that record meant he could "entirely realistically" promise to cut crime by at least 6% a year during the next four years.

Hardcore crimes will not be reduced by gimmicks
Ken Livingstone

But he said while crime generally was going down, the only area with a "serious increase" was "tragic youth murders".

In 2007, 27 teenagers were murdered in London. So far this year the figure is 11 - including 14-year-old Amro Elbadawi, who was stabbed in West Kilburn on Thursday.

Mr Livingstone promised more money for police intelligence and operations targeted at gangs, as well as an extra 1,000 officers next year for counter-terrorism and neighbourhood policing. Bus crime would be tackled by 11 local "safer transport teams".

Elderly 'ignored'

"Hardcore crimes will not be reduced by gimmicks but by building on the methods that have reduced overall crime in London," he said.

His Conservative rival Mr Johnson has promised to divert funds from the mayor's "publicity budget" to pay for 440 more PCSOs on the buses.

For many older Londoners, a fear of crime prevents them from living their lives fully and freely
Boris Johnson

Also on Friday he outlined his policies to make London more "age friendly", saying elderly people's concerns had been ignored by the current mayor.

"As mayor I will make it my number one priority to tackle crime and return a feeling of safety to our streets, to ensure that everyone can participate in the life, culture and economy of the greatest city on earth - regardless of their age or the neighbourhood they live in," he said.

"For many older Londoners, a fear of crime prevents them from living their lives fully and freely."

He added he would protect and extend the Freedom Pass so Londoners aged over 60 could use it for free public transport 24 hours a day.

He would also campaign to stop post-office and hospital closures, Mr Johnson added.

Lib Dem candidate Mr Paddick, a former Metropolitan Police commander, said he had 30 years' experience tackling crime and his top priority would be getting guns and knives off London's streets.

He accuses the mayor of breaking a promise to halve crime and says he will step down if he does not manage to cut crime by 20% in his first term as mayor - equivalent to 5% a year.

Nominations in the mayoral race close on Friday and a full list of candidates is expected later.

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  Councillors Councils
Party +/- Total +/- Total
CON 257 3155 12 65
LAB -334 2365 -9 18
LD 33 1804 1 12
PC 31 205 -1 0
OTH 10 898 0 0
NOC - - -3 64
159 of 159 councils declared.

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London Mayoral results
Overall results
Name Party Votes
Johnson CON 1,168,738
Livingstone LAB 1,028,966
Paddick LD 878,097
Berry GRN 409,101

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London Assembly Results
Overall results
Party Constit' Top-up Total seats
CON 8 3 11
LAB 6 2 8
LD 0 3 3
GRN 0 2 2
BNP 0 1 1

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