OPINION - The Standard View: Mayoral hopefuls need a plan to tackle crime on the Tube

tube crime  (ES)
tube crime (ES)

Simply getting from A to B is no longer the headline measure of success when it comes to using London’s transport network. Today, it is arriving at your destination with all your possessions still in tow.

Crime on TfL services has soared by 30 per cent between April and September this year, while on the Tube that figure nearly doubles, fuelled by a shocking rise in thefts and robberies. These numbers include an 83 per cent increase in thefts, including pickpocketing, to 5,378 offences.

Anyone can be a victim of crime, and the impact on individuals can extend far beyond the money lost and inconvenience caused. Should this appalling level of crime persist, it threatens to do lasting damage to public confidence in the transport network, and indeed the city itself. It is also likely — and rightly — to be a key issue in next year’s mayoral election campaign. Londoners will want to hear from both Sadiq Khan and Susan Hall on how they intend to counter the rising tide of crime.

Immigration is vital

The decision over who should be able to move to this country, and how many, is critical for any government. The story of the last decade in politics is that voters want to know there is control. But the lesson to take from Brexit is not that the public wants to pull the drawbridge up.

Rishi Sunak faces severe pressure from his backbenches to cut immigration following the loss of his hardline home secretary, the Rwanda ruling and last week’s record net migration figures. Yet the Prime Minister would be wrong to enact arbitrary measures that would damage our economy and place upward pressure on inflation.

The reality is that from staffing health and social care sectors to funding our universities, immigration is absolutely vital. It also makes London the global city it is today. At the same time, it is important to recognise that high levels of immigration do place pressure on public services and have contributed to the phenomenon of higher rents.

Ultimately, we must not allow ideology and short-term party management to draw attention away from Britain’s global responsibilities or the needs of our economy.

Elton’s plea

Few people have done more in the battle against HIV than Sir Elton John. The artist, whose Aids Foundation played a vital role in pioneering opt-out testing, is to address MPs this evening and will urge ministers to go further in order to hit the 2030 target of eliminating new HIV cases in England.

Opt-out testing is critical as it facilitates earlier diagnosis and treatment of the virus, especially for those less likely to participate in routine testing. The NHS wants to roll it out — the Government should back it.