A new study claims that air pollution is a major cause of the rising levels of crime - including shoplifting and pickpocketing - in the capital.

Barnet air pollution are nine per cent higher than the London average - the highest in the capital.

In the borough, the share of days with an AQI above 35 is 33 per cent whilst the London average is 24 per cent.

The share of days with an AQI above 35 is 17 per cent in Enfield and Waltham Forest; 29 per cent in Haringey and 12 per cent in Harrow.

An AQI of over 35, leads to 2.8 per cent more crimes which the study says is the equivalent to a 9 per cent reduction in policing.

A study published last week by London School of Economics (LSE) suggests that air pollution causes an increase in crime; particularly less severe crime such as shop lifting and pickpocketing.

The researchers found that a 10-point rise of the air pollution measure, the Air Quality Index (AQI), increases the crime rate by 0.9 per cent.

Dr Sefi Roth, assistant professor of environmental economics and co-author of the paper, said: “Our research suggests that reducing air pollution in urban areas could be a cost-effective way to reduce crime, in addition to the health benefits it would bring.

“We did not find that London’s ongoing spate of knife crime would be affected by improved air quality.

"However, if the number of less serious crimes could be reduced, the police could potentially be freed up to allocate more resources to these types of very serious incidents.

According to the NHS figures published in October 2017 Barnet also has the most air pollution hotspots in London, where there are dangerously high levels of nitrogen dioxide.

Commenting on the upcoming local elections on the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan he was committed to doing everything in his power to help improve air quality.

He added: “Only Labour is taking the action needed to tackle air pollution in our city, while the Tories have repeatedly opposed measures to crack down on our unhealthy pollution levels.”

Barnet air pollution levels are 9 per cent higher than the London average says a new study, which claims pollution is a major driver of crime.