Mayor of London Sadiq Khan (Photo by Tim P. Whitby/ Getty Images)

LONDON mayor Sadiq Khan has urged prime minister Boris Johnson to recruit police officers “much quicker” to tackle the city’s knife crime rise.

Saying the capital’s Metropolitan Police is “under-resourced and overstretched”, Khan said the city needs more officers than the 20,000 pledged by Johnson over three years.

Khan said: “We’ve got fewer police officers now than any time since 2003, while the population has risen by two million.

“Are the police worried about the lack of numbers? The answer is yes.

“Our police work so hard. They are under-resourced and over-stretched.

“We need more officers and so I’m using City Hall money – council tax and business rates – to recruit more, but we need central government to give us more support to reverse the cuts made.

“In the eight years before I became mayor, Boris Johnson never raised council tax to pay for police. In my first three years I’ve raised council tax the maximum I’m allowed to do by law to divert it to the police.

“Our police is funded by roughly 80 per cent by central government and 20 per cent by other sources. It’s now gone down to 70 per cent from central because I’ve raised other sources, but I can’t fill the massive hole left by £1 billion of cuts.”

The London mayor said he had not spoken to Johnson since he took office.

Talking about Johnson’s time in office, Khan called the prime minister a “liar” who had filled his cabinet with ministers who have “seriously obnoxious views.”

“I’m 48 years old and I can’t remember a more right-wing government in my lifetime.

“There are people in his cabinet that have got seriously obnoxious views about a whole host of issues,” he said, citing those with opposition to abortion, LGBT-plus equality and teaching for children.

He continued: “I worry about the catastrophic consequences of a no-deal Brexit.

“The problem with all of us who are critical of Boris Johnson is that we get bought in by the buffoon trick and the problem is the consequences are going to be catastrophic if we leave the European Union without any deal.”