Former top cop and Sadiq Khan advisor switches support to Mayor's LibDem rival Siobhan Benita

An ex-senior MET police officer who was an advisor to London Mayor Sadiq Khan has revealed he's stepping down from running to be a Labour GLA candidate to back the mayor's rival Siobhan Benita in her bid to become London's first Lib Dem mayor.

Former Scotland Yard Superintendent Leroy Logan MBE worked closely with Mr Khan ahead of the last mayoral election in 2016 and helped write his policing manifesto. But he says he's lost faith in the mayor and sees Ms Benita as the person with the ideas and expertise to stop the escalating knife crime crisis.

Mr Logan, one of the country's most high-profile black police officers before retiring in 2013 after 30 years' service, announced he's withdrawn his application to run as a Labour party candidate for the London Assembly and is joining Ms Benita's team as a Lib Dem member.

The defection came as Ms Benita unveiled her 'Feel safe, be safe' plan to tackle spiralling knife crime in the capital, a plan that addresses the root causes of violence. She's calling for: the appointment of a Young Mayor for London, eradication of permanent exclusion of pupils and an after school 'Youth Happy Hour' of activities to keep young Londoners safe. She's also pledging a return to effective community policing and an urgent implementation of drugs reform, including legalisation of cannabis, which would remove power from violent, criminal gangs.

Ms Benita, who is on the All Party Commission on Youth Violence looking into the root causes of serious youth violence in London and the UK, said:

"There's so, so much more that a Mayor of London can do - and yet this mayor isn't. It's heart-breaking every time another child loses their life. For the sake of the families of all those who've died, and for every family that now fears for their own children, we have to take radical action to halt this horrific epidemic. I believe my 'Feel safe, be safe' package can start to do that. And my door is open to anyone who has a potential solution they'd like to offer.

"I am delighted today to welcome into my team Leroy Logan, former Met Police Superintendent. The breadth and depth of his experience will be invaluable in helping us tackle this disease that is infecting too many young lives."

Leroy Logan said:

"Sadiq Khan has been such a disappointment as Mayor of London. Nowhere is that clearer than in his inability to get to grips with knife crime. His heavy-handed approach has meant communities losing trust in the police - confidence in police is at an all time low in certain neighbourhoods - and the public are left feeling they are over policed but under protected. He has also failed to make any significant improvements in improving police diversity especially at the most senior levels and failed to realise there is a correlation between police diversity and community trust."

"I've worked with Siobhan on the All Party Youth Violence Commission and been impressed by her fresh approach and practical ideas. She also has the leadership skills and ability to collaborate that will help turn the tide of the capital's knife crime crisis. She is the mayor that London needs.

Notes:

For media requests, please contact:
Giselle Green 07767612311; giselle@londonlibdems.org.uk

Photos available.

'Feel safe, be safe' - more on Siobhan Benita's package to tackle knife crime

1. Appoint a Young Mayor for London
The young Mayor will be responsible for working with the youth assembly to set a youth strategy for London and to ensure that young people’s voices are heard and taken into account as part of City’Hall’ decision-making processes. Would be paid for from the mayoral salary.

2. No child to be permanently excluded in London
Set an ambition that NO child should be permanently excluded from mainstream school. Shift the emphasis from exclusion to inclusion. Call a schools summit to look at how this can be done.

3. Introduce a “Youth Happy Hour” across London
Young people are often at their most vulnerable after leaving school and before parents are home – between 4 and 6 pm. "Youth Happy Hour" will mean having as many public spaces as possible being used for youth activities during this critical time of the day - schools to stay open (as the Children’s Commissioner has called for), churches and other faith groups to offer resources and venues for youth clubs, football pitches, sport fields and gyms to offer programmes for young people.

4. Legalise cannabis and reform overall drugs approach
The Lib Dems have been calling for a reform of drugs legislation for a long time and the evidence is clear of a strong link between the illicit drugs market and serious violence. Need to take the power away from gangs by decriminalising possession of cannabis, piloting legalisation of cannabis in the capital and providing support to addicts.

5. Locate police in the heart of the community
Effective community policing is key to creating a new approach and building mutual trust in communities. Every secondary school in London would have a dedicated police liaison officer. Should also build relationships with primary schools so that positive police relations are established as early as possible.

Leroy Logan MBE

Leroy Logan is a retired Superintendent who served 30 years in the Metropolitan Police Service and has wide-ranging operational experience.

He was a founder member and former Chair of both the Metropolitan and the National Black Police Association (BPA).
As a past member of the Stephen Lawrence Steering Group, his contribution to diversity in policing has been extensive, which include working with the Home Office in setting the first national police recruitment, retention & progression targets for minority ethnic officers.

He has extensive involvement in a wide range of charities. The most prominent is the VOYAGE (Voice Of the Youth And Genuine Empowerment) Youth, formerly known as the BPA Charitable Trust, since 2001. The main delivery project is the award winning YLfSC (Young Leaders for Safer Cities) Btech level ll programme, which has been fully assessed to have a 90% success rate and shown to significantly reduce offending and repeat offending.

Currently he is the police advisor to an All Party Commission on Youth Violence since 2016, which published a well received interim report in 2018 & he currently working on the final report.

His work focusing on addressing inequalities & injustices has been recognised over the years with the award of a MBE & a Honorary Doctorate, in addition to numerous Commissioners commendations during his MET career.