Po­lice num­bers ‘may fall to 19-year low’

Uxbridge Gazette - - NEWS -

THE “alarm­ing scale of the po­lice fund­ing cri­sis” means po­lice num­bers could fall to a 19-year low with­out ad­di­tional fund­ing, the Mayor of Lon­don has said.

On Mon­day, Sadiq Khan launched his “strong­est warn­ing to date” about po­lice cuts and called upon the Chan­cel­lor to end the fund­ing cri­sis in next month’s bud­get.

He said the “dan­ger­ous” cuts are putting lives at risk at a time of ris­ing crime and while Lon­don is ex­pe­ri­enc­ing an “un­prece­dented ter­ror threat”.

The fig­ures re­leased sug­gest that po­lice of­fi­cer num­bers may drop be­low 27,500 by 2021 in the cap­i­tal, the low­est to­tal since 2002.

That would equate to a stag­ger­ing 26% fall in the num­bers of of­fi­cers per head of pop­u­la­tion since 2010 - a change from one of­fi­cer per 242 Lon­don­ers in 2010, to one per 326 in 2021.

Last week, vi­o­lent crime in Lon­don was found to have in­creased and a shift to­wards counter ter­ror de­mand was clear fol­low­ing the four at­tacks this year.

The mayor has now called on min­is­ters to “put pub­lic safety first” and prop­erly fund Metropoli­tan Po­lice, which cur­rently needs to make £400 mil­lion of cuts.

He said: “The alarm­ing scale of the po­lice fund­ing cri­sis means that Lon­don­ers’ safety is be­ing put at risk at a time when the pop­u­la­tion is ris­ing, crime is ris­ing and we face an un­prece­dented ter­ror­ist threat. The gov­ern­ment has the power to stop this.

“If the Chan­cel­lor does not use next month’s bud­get to end the long-term cuts to polic­ing and put pub­lic safety first, then we will have no choice but to re­duce our front­line.

“Gov­ern­ment cuts have al­ready lost us thou­sands of PCSOs and staff, most of our po­lice sta­tion front coun­ters and 120 po­lice build­ings.

“I have in­creased the coun­cil tax pre­cept and pro­vided ad­di­tional fund­ing wher­ever I can to pro­tect the num­ber of front line of­fi­cers.

“If the Chan­cel­lor does not act now we risk our po­lice of­fi­cer num­bers fall­ing be­low 27,500 at a time when we need them most.

“This bud­get will af­fect the safety of Lon­don­ers not just to­day, but po­ten­tially far into the fu­ture. It is up to the Chan­cel­lor to do the right thing and en­sure the pub­lic is as pro­tected as pos­si­ble.”

He added that if the cuts go through it will lead to “more pres­sure on the al­ready over­stretched teams” who pro­tect vul­ner­a­ble Lon­don­ers.

Re­spond­ing to the mayor’s com­ments, Met Deputy Com­mis­sioner Craig Mackey said: “This is a stark prospect for all of us.

“We are faced with some very dif­fi­cult chal­lenges, choices and pres­sures.

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