Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has blamed central government cuts as the number of police officers per person in London falls to its lowest in 20 years.

New figures released by City Hall today show the number of police officers per 1,000 people in London has fallen to 3.3 – a record low over the last 20 years.

The statistics also revealed that Metropolitan Police spending per head in London fell by 20 per cent from 2012 to 2016 – faster than any other police force in the country.

Mr Khan was quick to blame the fall in police officers and police spending by the Metropolitan Police on central government cuts which he said have hit London harder than anywhere else in the UK.

Since 2010 government funding to the Metropolitan Police has been cut by £700 million.

He said: “Every death on our streets is an utter tragedy, leaving families, friends and communities devastated.

“The level of knife crime across our country, including London, is simply unacceptable. We’re doing everything we can, in City Hall, to tackle this scourge.

“I make no apologies for relentlessly pushing the government to understand that cuts have consequences and that our police service desperately need more funding right now.

Earlier today Mr Khan met with borough leaders and community groups at a London knife crime summit to discuss a joint approach in tackling the rise in violent and knife crime in the capital.

The murder rate in London has risen above 75 so far this year and Metropolitan Police statistics show that up to May this year, 970 knives and 98 firearms have been recovered from London’s streets.

The number of police officers in London has also dropped below 30,000 for the first-time in 15 years.

Mr Khan added: “Together we must ensure standards are maintained in every borough as part of our collective approach to tackling violence, because the government continues to leave us high and dry by cutting public services and refusing to invest properly in our police service.”

To tackle the surge in violent crime in the capital this year, the mayor has launched a number of initiatives.

These include investing £15m in a Violent Crime Taskforce and creating a £45 million Young Londoner’s Fund to be invested in youth services to stop young people getting caught up in crime.