11 August 2011

Lest we forget - Boris Johnson’s London police cuts

Please let's not let his current bleating blind us to the fact that, on top of Tory Hammersmith & Fulham's crime budget cuts (see here), Tory Mayor Boris Johnson has been making swingeing reductions of his own.

  • As Mayor of London, Boris sets the annual budget for the Metropolitan Police.
  • Before the last election, Boris's 2009 police budget cut 455 police officers in London (see here).
  • Boris's  current plans are to cut 1,800 police officers from London - that's fifty lost from H&F and every London borough. By 2013/4 there will be just 31,360 police officers in London, down from 33,260 in 2009/10 (source: Johnson’s own Metropolitan Police Authority: see here).
  • Boris is also cutting 300 local beat team sergeants in London (see these MPA minutes here
All this puts the Metropolitan Police in an impossible position.

Merton’s borough commander, Chief Supt Wolfenden, has said, “The future doesn’t look great. We’ve got to find between 4 and 5 per cent in the next financial year. By 2014 I’ll be operating with 25 to 30 per cent less than I had eight months ago. If that was in the private sector, if someone asked you to run your business with 30 per cent less cash, most people would find that very difficult. My life, right now, is all about spinning plates and trying to keep the shop open. It’s been incredibly difficult and I’m fighting battles on all sorts of different fronts” (see here).

Bromley’s borough commander, Chief Superintendent Charles Griggs, has said, “The budget is being looked at centrally and at the moment the Met is still waiting to see what the government cuts are going to look like. I have no doubt there will be the need to make significant cuts, and 78 per cent of the Met’s budget is people, so the reality is we will have to lose people" (see here).

Barnet’s borough commander Neil Basu has said there would be a “profound” reduction in police and staff numbers across the capital as the Met worked out the impact of cuts (see here).

We agree with Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper, who said yesterday, “It is shameful that it has taken these appalling events to force Boris Johnson to realise people are concerned about police cuts, as he has already cut 900 police officers from the Met in the last year and the Mayor's own plans mean 1,800 officers are expected to go in total over the next few years. The police, communities and campaigners have been warning that these cuts were unsustainable for many months. It should not take awful criminal violence on the scale we have seen for those warning voices to be heard.”

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