London’s police are set for major cuts, hitting the fight against crime – the reverse of what London’s Mayor promised when elected.
In this year’s budget, the Mayor has cut Met police funding by £16.4 million.
The result? London will lose 455 police officers. As well as civilian posts, which is likely to pull more officers off front-line duties. Kingston’s Borough Commander is being told to lose 5% from his budget.
Of course, there must be some efficiency savings to be had. Lib Dem GLA Member, Dee Doocey, proposed nearly £9 million of cuts – halving the number of the Mayor’s press officers (£3mn), reducing by a third the Met’s use of consultants (£3.76mn) and abolishing chauffeurs and limousines for senior Met officers, unless needed for security (£1.6 mn).
Yet the Mayor rejected these savings in favour of cutting police officers.
For Kingston, this is a worry. Crime has been on the decline here, as the number of police officers has increased in recent years.
Kingston is now London’s safest Borough – and has won two national awards for this progress. Both the independent watchdog, the Audit Commission, and the Association of Town Centre Management, have praised the partnership work locally – between our police, the council and local businesses.
The Mayor claims Special Constables can make up the difference – though they aren’t full-time officers of course.
The truth is, just before the election, Mayor Johnson wanted a zero council tax rise – whatever the implications for cuts in police numbers in future years, and the negative impact on fighting crime.
Let’s hope this is not a sign of things to come.