Boris Johnson has joined new police on the frontline as he marks his final days as Prime Minister.
The winner of the Tory leadership race and Mr Johnson’s successor – either Liz Truss Where Rishi Sunak – will be announced on September 5, replacing it in issue #10 the following day.
With less than a week to go into labor, PM witnessed a raid near Lewisham, south London, and spoke to officers from one of the 20 Violence Reduction Units set up by his government to see the work they are doing to prevent crime in the community.
The visit comes as a new report by the right-wing think tank Policy Exchange urges the next PM to get the police ‘back to basics’ [and] focus on fighting crime” rather than being “woke”.
Asked about the report, Mr Johnson said: ‘I just saw a group of police who woke up quite a few drug dealers this morning, they woke them up before they expected to have breakfast and they woke them up with warrants and they woke up telling them they were under arrest for causing misery in the London communities.
“That’s what I want the police to do, that’s what [Home Secretary] Prity [Patel] wants them to do. I thank them for what they do. They do an absolutely fantastic job.”
Johnson on tour of the country last week as prime minister – Reuters
The aim of the Violence Reduction Units is to bring together key local partners, including health, education and police organisations, to target the underlying causes of violence and prevent children and young people from be exploited by criminal gangs.
The government says the units prevented more than 49,000 violent offenses in their first two years and supported around 260,000 vulnerable young people in their second year alone.
Downing Street says that so far 13,790 more police have been hired in England and Wales as part of the Conservative Government’s 2019 manifesto commitment to put 20,000 more police on our streets.
Speaking to reporters this morning, Mr Johnson defended his government’s record on tackling crime, saying: ‘Look at neighborhood crime, which is the thing that really affects the quality of life for most people in this country, and it’s down about 38% in 2019 since this government took over.
“I think it’s a great effort on the part of the police, not just the Metropolitan Police, the police all over the country.
“And what you see is about 13,700 more police on the streets. That helps, that makes a difference.”
The Prime Minister also welcomed the controversial Policing, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill to “give the police the powers they need to give criminals the harsh sentences they deserve”.
The Prime Minister is touring the UK this week as his term as Prime Minister draws to a close, with his next stop on Wednesday in the northeast of England, alongside Australian Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles and of Defense Secretary Ben Wallace.
The trio are expected to discuss security threats facing the UK and its allies, including Aukus Defense Pact.
Speaking in North Dorset on Tuesday – while traveling on the occasion of the deployment of gigabit broadband – Mr Johnson declined to know if he planned a political comeback after leaving Downing Street, saying: “I think on the whole the people of this country are more interested in their gigabit broadband than in the fate of this or that politician.
And when asked today why he wanted to be remembered, he kept the message, telling reporters: ‘As the Prime Minister who in three years has helped reduce neighborhood crime by 38% thanks to the work of the Metropolitan Police and others.”
Meanwhile, a new poll from Ipsos has shown that half – 51% – of British voters would support holding a general election this year after the change of prime minister.
The survey of 2,164 adults – including 634 2019 Conservative voters and 561 2019 Labor voters – was carried out from August 5-8.