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New campaign launched against London Mayor Sadiq Khan

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
London Mayor Sadiq Khan is coming under increasing pressure ahead of the mayoral election next month

London Mayor, Sadiq Khan, is coming under pressure from a new campaign, this time by bereaved parents whose children were the victims of knife crime on the streets of London.

The campaign appears to be led, at least informally, by Jasna Badzak, whose son, Sven, was knifed to death on February 06 in what the Metropolitan Police initially described as a “random” attack by a gang composed of six males.

Sven, 22, was attacked by the group as he stopped to buy a bagel with a 16-year-old friend after visiting the Waitrose supermarket in Kilburbn, north-west London.

Speaking to the Evening Standard (April 06), Jasna Badzak said: “Knife crime has infected every part of London. He is the Mayor in charge of policing — he can’t blame the Home Office or Downing Street”.

Badzak, who is a former Tory activist and has been pictured with Prime Minister Boris Johnson, added: “Sadiq Khan is too softly-softly on crime. In the middle of this war on crime, we are the targets. Our kids get taken away”.

Another grieving mother, Becky Beeston, whose son was stabbed to death in February 2020, has taken Khan to task over his policy on the controversial policing tactic of stop and search.

Becky’s son, Archie Beeston, 19, was killed by a habitual knife carrier who was subsequently jailed for 19 years for the crime of manslaughter.

Social justice campaigners, and aligned academics, have consistently called stop and search a racist policy as black people are six times more likely than whites to be stopped and searched by the police in England and Wales. 

Also speaking to the Evening Standard (April 06), Becky Beston said: “Sadiq Khan doesn’t back the police on stop and search. Officers are putting their lives at risk for the safety of the people. He’s not — he’s sitting in an office”.

“We’re living in a lawless society where kids aren’t afraid to leave home with a knife. My son’s killer had been carrying a knife since he was 16”, Beston added.

According to official figures, 31 homicide investigations have been opened by the Met Police in 2021, compared with 33 by the same period in 2020.

This year’s homicide victims include nine teenagers, compared with only 15 teenagers killed in all of last year.

The political context 

The campaign launched by the bereaved mothers comes ahead of the London mayoral election, scheduled for May 06.

Sadiq Khan is fighting for re-election and in that context the latest campaign against him will inevitably be viewed, at least in part, as politically motivated.

A spokesman for the London Mayor released the following statement: “Sadiq’s thoughts remain with Sven’s [Badzak] family and everyone going through the pain of losing a loved one to violent crime. As Mayor he has put over 1,000 more police officers on the streets and invested more than £1 billion in tackling crime in the capital”.   


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