Vi­o­lent crime ‘made far worse’ by po­lice cuts

Harefield Gazette - - NEWS -

VI­O­LENT crime on the streets of Lon­don has been made “far worse” by cuts to po­lice num­bers, ac­cord­ing to the city’s mayor.

Sadiq Khan has crit­i­cised the Govern­ment for re­duc­ing the num­ber of of­fi­cers avail­able to the Metropoli­tan Po­lice.

He said he was wor­ried about be­ing able to keep Lon­don­ers safe with po­lice num­bers set to fall to their low­est level since 2002.

Mr Khan has voiced his con­cerns be­fore meet­ing Home Sec­re­tary Sa­jid Javid on Tues­day De­cem­ber 4 to dis­cuss the po­lice fund­ing set­tle­ment for 2019-20.

The mayor said: “The causes of vi­o­lent crime are ex­tremely com­plex, but there is no doubt it has been made far worse by huge govern­ment cuts to the po­lice and youth ser­vices.

“Even the Home Sec­re­tary has fi­nally ad­mit­ted that the Met won’t be able to tackle vi­o­lent crime without more fund­ing from the Govern­ment. Now we ur­gently need to see ac­tion to avoid of­fi­cer num­bers fall­ing even fur­ther.

“Govern­ment cuts have led to Lon­don los­ing 3,000 po­lice of­fi­cers and more than 3,000 PCSOs and 5,000 po­lice staff and I’m gen­uinely con­cerned about how we keep Lon­don­ers safe with of­fi­cer num­bers as low as 26,800.

“Min­is­ters need to re­verse the £1 bil­lion sav­ings forced on the Met and re­verse their cuts on youth ser­vices and other pre­ven­ta­tive ser­vices so that we can keep our city safe.”

The Metropoli­tan Po­lice is re­quired to make a fur­ther £335 mil­lion worth of sav­ings by 2022, Mr Khan’s of­fice said, bas­ing their fig­ures on “up­dated and de­tailed” cal­cu­la­tions by the Mayor’s Of­fice for Polic­ing and Crime ahead of the mayor’s next bud­get.

The fig­ure is £10m more than pre­vi­ous fore­casts, they said, claim­ing it could lead to of­fi­cer num­bers fall­ing to their low­est level since 2002.

The bud­get fore­cast also takes ac­count of a change in po­lice pen­sions which will re­quire Scot­land Yard to meet an in­crease in its an­nual pen­sion bill of £104m from 2020, equiv­a­lent to more than 1,700 of­fi­cers, the mayor’s of­fice added.

It said the cal­cu­la­tions were made on the ba­sis that Mr Khan will in­crease the polic­ing el­e­ment of the coun­cil tax pre­cept by 5.1 per cent, or £12 per house­hold.

This would raise an ad­di­tional £49m which is equiv­a­lent to 800 po­lice of­fi­cers, the of­fice added.

On Fri­day Novem­ber 30 Mr Khan said a pledge to in­crease po­lice fund­ing in Eng­land and Wales by £600 mil­lion did not go far enough to tackle a rise in vi­o­lent crime.

It has been re­ported that the Home Sec­re­tary had se­cured an agree­ment to al­low lo­cal au­thor­i­ties to dou­ble the amount they can add to coun­cil tax bills for polic­ing.

Chan­cel­lor Philip Ham­mond and Com­mu­ni­ties Sec­re­tary James Bro­ken­shire were said to have pro­vi­sion­ally agreed au­thor­i­ties can in­crease the pre­cept charge on coun­cil tax bills from £1 a month to £2 a month.

The rise, which would come in in April, could raise around £450m for forces in Eng­land and Wales, it has been claimed.

In a year of ris­ing lev­els of vi­o­lence on Lon­don’s streets, how­ever, crit­ics will say that more needs to be done.

In west Lon­don alone the trend of vi­o­lent crime in 2018 has con­tin­ued on the streets in re­cent weeks.

Metropoli­tan Po­lice re­cruits dur­ing a pass­ing out pa­rade for new of­fi­cers

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