Mayor Sadiq Khan’s claim that mobile phone thefts were drivers behind knife crime in London insulted various British commentators online ahead of the new year.

Khan appeared on Sky News Sunday where he was confronted on the ongoing issue of knife crimes in the area. While insisting that the number has gone down recently, Khan also pointed to mobile phone robberies as the main issue.

“The biggest personal robbery is of mobile phones. We know 20 or 30 years ago car manufacturers managed to reduce the theft of car stereos, reduce the thefts of the TomToms from cars by designing away the possibility of doing so,” Khan said.

When pressed specifically on knife crime, Khan said in response, “That’s because they try to steal the mobile phones.”

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Social media users pushed back on Khan’s appearance and explanation.

“After a couple of softball questions about #NewYear2024, Sadiq Khan gets roasted on the appalling increase in knife and gun crime in London on his watch. Even Sly News have had enough of the useless pillock! I don’t think he was expecting that,” commentator Lee Harris wrote.

Fellow political commentator Alex Armstrong responded, “Just last night, New Years Eve, while Sadiq Khan was praising himself for the ‘work’ he’s done in London, a 16 year old boy was stabbed to death. He needs to go NOW.”

Former Mumford & Sons musician Winston Marshall asked, “What exactly is the difference between mobile phones in London and those in Birmingham and Manchester @SadiqKhan? Why do they lead to increase knife crime here but a decrease up north?”

Author and journalist Peter Lloyd exclaimed, “Caught off-guard during a #NewYear segment with Sky News, Sadiq Khan gets skewered on the rampant gun and knife crime in London. He’s visibly shook. What a great start to the year!”

“Yes, one man can ruin a city. Did Sadiq Khan do it on purpose or is he a genuine moron?” writer Alexandra Marshall wrote.

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Recent data provided by the Metropolitan police and the mayor’s own figures note that while gun and knife crime has dropped in London, it is mainly in certain categories such as “knife crime with injury under 25,” relating to youth crime – while “knife crime with injury” broadly has only dropped by about 1% from the start of the mayor’s tenure.

Khan also explained how he is working with authorities to specifically target phone robberies.

“So if you can make a second-hand phone useless to a robber or a thief that means the temptation to do so is going away. Enforcement’s really important, so we’re using data now to make sure we have police officers targeting those parts of our city which we know are…hotspots. So it’s a combination of using data to target the hotspots, town centers, transport hubs, but also working with the mobile phone manufacturers and the platforms to make sure there is no resale value of a phone,” Khan said.

Fox News Digital has reached out to Mayor Khan’s office for comment.

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Fox News’ Peter Aitken contributed to this report.