Lib Dem mayoral candidate Rob Blackie pledges to fix policing - 'I know what it's like to be victim of crime'

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The Liberal Democrat mayoral candidate, Rob Blackie, was once violently mugged and says his main priority is to tackle crime.

Liberal Democrat mayoral candidate Rob Blackie has pledged to “fix the Met Police” and introduce more solar panels on roofs in the capital if elected.

The 51-year-old digital marketer, who advises start-up tech companies, has had a varied career, from working on an elephant conservation project in Namibia to serving as director of research for the former Lib Dem leader Charles Kennedy during the Iraq war.

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He has twice stood for the London Assembly and has previously been shortlisted as a mayoral candidate, though not chosen.

This month he celebrated his final cancer treatement, having had a kidney removed last year.

But it was not his first serious surgery. In 2003 Mr Blackie was given a "titanium neck" following a mugging in Vauxhall, which led to a long interest in work to tackle violent crime in the capital.

Mr Blackie, who has lived in the Brixton area for the last 20 years, says he was inspired to run for the top job at City Hall after reading the Casey report into the culture of the Met Police.

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“I have personal experience of what it's like to be a victim of crime when I was attacked quite a while ago now. I was hit over the head with a large metal pole and sort of had my neck broken,” Mr Blackie told LondonWorld. “Londoners feel let down by the mayor.

"I go around London every week, I talk to people and they’re increasingly feeling unsafe and that can be a stabbing nearby, or it can be a car being broken into. So I think crime is absolutely my top priority. And that's why I'm standing.”

Mr Blackie says if elected he will deliver 500 more frontline police officers and fix the police's use of technology.

He said under the current mayor Sadiq Khan the Met Police spends too much time on stop and searching people, looking for cannabis, and not enough time dealing with rape cases and sexual offences. Join our new WhatsApp Community to get the latest news from across London directly to your phone

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Rob Blackie, Liberal Democrat mayoral candidateRob Blackie, Liberal Democrat mayoral candidate
Rob Blackie, Liberal Democrat mayoral candidate | Liberal Democrats

ULEZ

Mr Blackie who has been campaigning for clean air for decades said he would keep the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) charge if elected, but would look at providing more support for van drivers.

“I wouldn’t abolish ULEZ as now it's come in, most people have adapted. Car drivers have largely adapted, 95% of the cars in the zone are compliant.

“But the people who are struggling a bit are the people who drive vans for work. Secondhand compliant vans are quite expensive and that’s where it would be good to see whether or not you can help people without adaptation.”

Environment

Mr Blackie, who has worked as an environmental economist, says he has a number of green priorities for London.

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“I would like to do three or four things on the environment, one of which is to get more solar on people's roofs,” he said. “You'll get lots more money as people switch to electric cars, they can feed off a roof. 

“Secondly, we want to accelerate the charging of electric cars. Thirdly we're going to be looking at what we can do to get sewage out of London's rivers.”

Make London more welcoming

Mr Blackie wants to "keep London welcoming" by protecting EU citizens and helping undocumented Londoners.

“Since Brexit, a lot of EU citizens have faced problems with settled status and we've said we'll do two things to help fix that,” he said.

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“One of which is creating this thing we call a London passport, which is a document to prove your right to stay. When you get settled status. Right now, it's a fully digital system. 

“The second thing we would do is provide legal funds for EU citizens to sue the Home Office when they mess up.”

The mayoral election will be held on May 2 with Labour’s Mr Khan running for a third term. Susan Hall is running as the Conservative’s candidate, while the Green’s have chosen Hackney councillor Zoe Garbett and Reform UK has selected Howard Cox.

A number of Independent candidates including University of Westminster chancellor Natalie Campbell are standing.

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