Ken pledges to take personal control of Met

LABOUR’S Ken Livingstone yesterday promised to take “full responsibility” for policing and crime in London if he is elected, saying Boris Johnson had sent the “wrong message” by resigning from the Metropolitan Police Authority (MPA) after just ten meetings.

The Conservative Mayor promised to “take responsibility for crime and chair the MPA” in his 2008 manifesto but instead handed control of the police to his deputy, Kit Malthouse.

“Any officer you talk to says that there has been a collapse in morale,” Livingstone said. “You’ve had three commissioners of police in four years which is a disaster for any organisation of that size.

“By appointing myself as commissioner for crime and policing there will be a close working relationship between myself and [police chief] Bernard Hogan-Howe.”

The Labour candidate made the pledge as he talked with police and shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper near his birthplace in Streatham, south London.

But critics continue to ask questions about the funding for his manifesto pledges with Livingstone joking to Cooper: “I’ll have a big bill when you’re home secretary.”

A spokesman for Boris Johnson rejected the policing claims, saying Livingstone had “ignored” crime while Mayor. “Crime is now down almost 11 per cent and murders are at their lowest level since the 1960s. This progress is at serious risk if Mr Livingstone gets back in,” he added.

With a week to go until polling day the Labour candidate is attempting to associate Johnson with the unpopularity of his Conservative party.

Last night Livingstone attempted to drag the Mayor into the phone hacking inquiry, demanding to know if Johnson discussed the work of the Metropolitan Police when he met James Murdoch for lunch in 2010.