Want more po­lice on the street? Then get rid of this lot, Mr Mayor

The Mail on Sunday - - NEWS - By Martin Beck­ford and Glen Owen

SADIQ KHAN has squan­dered mil­lions of pounds from his polic­ing bud­get on an army of highly paid pen­push­ers – tak­ing vast sums away from the bat­tle against soar­ing knife crime, ac­cord­ing to crit­ics of Lon­don’s Labour Mayor.

Mr Khan has re­peat­edly ac­cused the Gov­ern­ment of slash­ing Scot­land Yard’s bud­get and forc­ing him to re­duce po­lice num­bers to their low­est level in 15 years, even as the mur­der rate soars with five killings tak­ing place in less than a week re­cently.

But The Mail on Sun­day can re­veal that he is spend­ing £7.1 mil­lion a year on a stag­ger­ing 109 ex­ec­u­tives, man­agers and re­searchers in City Hall whose role is to over­see the Met – sev­eral of whom are paid more than £100,000 a year.

MOPAC does not em­ploy any serv­ing po­lice of­fi­cers.

Re­cent de­ci­sions made by the Mayor’s Of­fice for Polic­ing and Crime (MOPAC) in­clude spend­ing £1 mil­lion on cus­tomer sat­is­fac­tion sur­veys, ask­ing the pub­lic ques­tions such as: ‘How good a job do you think the po­lice in this area are do­ing?’

If the money spent on MOPAC staff alone were di­verted to front­line po­lice, it could pay the £30,369 start­ing salaries of 233 PCs.

This would al­most dou­ble the size of the 271- strong Vi­o­lent Crime Task Force set up by the Mayor ear­lier this year. Shaun Bai­ley, Con­ser­va­tive can­di­date for Lon­don Mayor, has vowed to slash costs in Mr Khan’s ‘bloated bu­reau­cracy’ if he is elected in 2020 – and spend the money on bob­bies on the beat.

He said last night: ‘Lon­don­ers are wor­ried for their safety and tired of watch­ing politi­cians squab­ble over who’s to blame. Lon­don can make bet­ter choices with t he re­sources it al­ready has in hand.’ The Labour Mayor will spend a to­tal of £3.3 bil­lion on polic­ing in 2018-19, with most in­come com­ing from Gov­ern­ment grants plus a share of coun­cil tax.

He can choose how much to spend on MOPAC and how much to de­vote to front­line polic­ing. MOPAC spent £61 mil­lion in the most re­cent fi­nan­cial year, up from £36 mil­lion in 2015-16 when Boris John­son was Mayor – but a spokesman in­sisted its core costs had re­mained the same. About £7.1 mil­lion a year is paid to front­line staff. High­est paid is chief ex­ec­u­tive Re­becca Lawrence, an ex-civil ser­vant who takes home a salary of £151,500. Chief fi­nan­cial of­fi­cer Siob­han Peters is paid £126,250, as is for­mer New Labour ad­viser So­phie Lin­den, the Deputy Mayor for polic­ing and crime.

Di­rec­tor of strat­egy Paul Wylie; di­rec­tor of au­dit, risk and as­sur­ance Julie Nor­grove; di­rec­tor of crim­i­nal jus­tice pol­icy and com­mis­sion­ing Sam Cun­ning­ham; and di­rec­tor of strate­gic part­ner­ships and in­sight Marie Snelling all have salaries in the re­gion of £116,000 ac­cord­ing to MOPAC’s web­site, al­though a spokesman said two of the se­nior man­agers work part-time so are paid less.

A spokesman for the Mayor of Lon­don said: ‘MOPAC has been more suc­cess­ful in bid­ding for in­vest­ment from the Gov­ern­ment and other agen­cies and so ex­pen­di­ture has gone up. The in­crease has been spent on vi­o­lence re­duc­tion work, ser­vices to tackle vi­o­lence against women and girls and to im­prove ser­vices for vic­tims and wit­nesses.’

Met Po­lice Com­mis­sioner Cres­sida Dick joined Home Sec­re­tary Sa­jid Javid on a visit to Brix­ton, South Lon­don yes­ter­day.

And in an in­ter­view with the Daily Tele­graph, she stressed the im­por­tance of front­line polic­ing, say­ing: ‘If I had more of­fi­cers I would put them out on the street and I would put them against vi­o­lent crim­i­nals, and I think it would have an im­pact.’

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