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Navin Shah GLA Brent & Harrow
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Navin's News: Metropolitan Police

Mayor breaks election promise as over 3,000 police officers lost

New figures have today shown that the Metropolitan Police has lost over 3,000 officers since May 2010, there are now 30,085 PCs in London. In Brent 111 police officers have been lost – a drop of 16%.  The Mayor promised he would maintain police numbers ‘at or around 32,000’. Over the same period the Met has also lost 2,265 Police Community Support Officers. In Brent 88 PCSOs have been lost – 65% of the total, wheares in Harrow 60 police officers have been lost – a drop of 15%.  Deputy mayor for policing Stephen Greenhalgh said last year that it would be a “doomsday scenario” for policing if the figure dipped below 31,000.

I am calling on the Mayor to reverse his cuts to front line policing and secure a better deal from central government for Londoners. Next week the Mayor will decide whether he will adopt proposed amendments to his budget for 2014/15. The amendment would immediately see 1,185 PCSOs and an extra 250 Safer Transport Team Police Officers recruited using the Mayor’s existing budget to help plug the gap caused by cuts to the policing budget by the Mayor and central government.

On Boris Johnson’s watch we’ve seen the erosion of policing in London and in our borough, when he stood for re-election he promised to maintain numbers at 32,000 but he has failed to do this. According to his own figures he has cut police officer numbers by over 3,000 and halved PCSOs, which made up the bulk of our local safer neighbourhood teams.

The Met Police is now the third least visible on the streets compared to other areas of the country. We need a properly resourced police service to tackle crime and provide a much better service to victims. I hope next week he will adopt my budget amendment and start to properly resource our local police teams. The government have cut the policing budget by 20%, the Mayor needs to stand up for Londoners and get a better deal for our city from his colleagues in government.

 

Ends

 

Notes

  1. The figures quoted above are for December 2013 which are the latest available and are published on the Mayor’s own London Datastore website, see: http://data.london.gov.uk/dashboard-summary/crime
  2. The graph below shows Met police officer numbers from May 2010 to December 2013.
  3. Met third least visible force in the country Value for Money Profiles, HMIC, November 2013, p 43   http://www.hmic.gov.uk/media/metropolitan-value-for-money-profile-2013.pdf
  4. In January 2012 the Mayor of London told the London Assembly:

“I want to repeat that under this Mayoralty there will be no cuts in the police and we will keep police numbers at a safe level. I believe, and I have said many times in this horseshoe, that safe level is around 32,000 or more.” See page 3: http://www.london.gov.uk/moderngov/documents/b5860/Minutes%20-%20Appendices%201-3%20-%20Transcripts%20Wednesday%2025-Jan-2012%2010.00%20London%20Assembly%20Mayors%20Questi.pdf?T=9

 

  1. Stephen Greenhalgh said that numbers falling under 31,000 would be a “Doomsday scenario” for London.

(Stephen Greenhalgh, Home Affairs Select Committee, 4th September 2012)   

 

                       

 

Permanent link to this article
6th February 2014

Asian Voice: Police Cuts: A Boost To Criminals!

 

It is most extraordinary that Tory Party, the so called Party of ‘Law and Order’ now in government is forcing through 20% cuts to police budgets over the next 4 years. This situation is compounded for London by the fact that the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) is facing a budget shortfall of £170m this year.

 

Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper has quite rightly  brought to our attention that "Far from protecting frontline policing as ministers promised, over 10,000 police officers are being cut in the next few years alone and that's 10,000 fewer police officers fighting crime, solving serious cases, or keeping our country safe. Cutting so fast and so deep into police budgets is crazy. It is completely out of touch with communities across the country who want to keep bobbies on the beat." Even the centre-right thinktank ‘Civitas’ has warned  that cuts to the police would boost criminals.

 

Mayor of London Boris Johnson’s administration is no different when it comes to cutting police numbers and the budget. Last year, long before the coalition government started forcing through its draconian measures, the Mayor proposed a reduction of police numbers by 455 over the next three years and 5% cuts in police budgets Londonwide. The Mayor  has further frozen the recruitment of new police officers, which has resulted in the police estimating that they will have 900 fewer officers in March 2011 than they expected to have. This is the Mayor who pleadged ‘to spend less on press officers and more on police officers’ and ‘to redirect more resources to frontline policing’.

 

Mayor Livingstone introduced the Safer Neighbourhood Teams (SNTs) between April 2004 & April 2006 with dedicated teams of six officers in every single ward in London - an innovation that has been remarkably successful.  A report in 2008 demonstrated  that there is a positive association between SNTs and falling crime and increase in confidence in local police. To maintain the excellent work undertaken by the SNTs commitment to current level and composition of the current  model of neighbourhood policing is crucial and this was endorsed by the London Assembly in a resolution in March 2010.

 

In 2008 Boris Johnson at a Mayors Question Time stated “I fully support the Safer Neighbourhood Team model, and I am committed to ensuring that there at least 6 officers in every ward.” However now Mayor Johnson has backtracked on the commitment and refused to maintain the 3-2-1 model of neighbourhood policing and now believes any decision on policing structure is an operational matter for the Commissioner!

 

At the local level, within my constituency of Brent and Harrow, the Metropolitan Police have continually improved the quality of life for the boroughs' citizens over the last decade. I feel therefore that it is a backwards step for 19 police officers to be lost in Brent this year due to the Mayor's freeze in recruiting and similarly Harrow is set to lose 11 police officers in the coming year. I find this situation extremely worrying requiring police to choose which crimes they tackle with reduced resources. I am told that the local police in Brent and Harrow is consulting on ‘flexible ways of working’. This in reality could mean Safer Neighbourhood Teams being taken away from ‘safer’ wards to ‘problem’ areas. If the ’flexible’ working approach was to be deployed it would be critical to ensure that the so-called ’safe’ wards do not end up being neglected areas wiping out the good work carried out over the past years and endangering strong partnerships with local communities.

Permanent link to this article
7th February 2011

Brent's Police teams under threat

London Mayor Boris Johnson gives green light to Brent police to change make up of safer neighbourhood teams.

Every ward in London is currently covered by a fixed model of one police sergeant, two constables and three community support officers. But Boris Johnson says this could be about to change. Supposedly ‘safer wards’ should have ‘flexibility’ to change the teams, the Mayor said this week.

If the ‘flexible’ working approach was deployed it would be critical to ensure that the so-called ‘safe’ wards do not end up being neglected areas and crime hotspots, wiping out all the good work carried out over the past years and endangering strong partnerships with local communities.

He said it was up to local police to decide whether they need the teams. "It would be crazy for me to order them to have a one size fits all approach", he told London Assembly members.

Local Labour Assembly member, Navin Shah, said: “Brent is already affected by the reduction in police numbers due to the freeze on recruitment. Neighbourhood policing in London has been a great success, and the model has worked well. It's worrying that the model which has served Brent for the last five years now appears to be under threat at the same time the number of officers on the beat is going to go down.”

At this month's mayor's question time on 17 November Boris Johnson said: "I don't want to be absolutely rigid about this. I'm not saying every ward has to have an identical configuration of sergeants, constables and PCSOs." He went on, "I'm not anticipating what the shape of the force is going to be after we've been through this process …. These are operational matters. I think that borough commanders will want to have some flexibility in deciding how their resources are to be distributed across their wards. Some wards will clearly be safer than others... I think there's a case for them to be give some margin for manoeuvre."

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23rd November 2010

Harrow police to change make up of safer neighbourhood teams

London Mayor Boris Johnson gives green light to Harrow police to change make up of safer neighbourhood teams.

Every ward in London is currently covered by a fixed model of one police sergeant, two constables and three community support officers. But Boris Johnson says this could be about to change. Supposedly ‘safer wards’ should have ‘flexibility’ to change the teams, the Mayor said this week.

If the ‘flexible’ working approach was deployed it would be critical to ensure that the so-called ‘safe’ wards do not end up being neglected areas and crime hotspots, wiping out all the good work carried out over the past years and endangering strong partnerships with local communities.

He said it was up to local police to decide whether they need the teams. "It would be crazy for me to order them to have a one size fits all approach", he told London Assembly members.

Local Labour Assembly member, Navin Shah, said: “Harrow is already affected by the reduction in police numbers due to the freeze on recruitment. Neighbourhood policing in London has been a great success, and the model has worked well. It's worrying that the model which has served Brent for the last five years now appears to be under threat at the same time the number of officers on the beat is going to go down.”

At this month's mayor's question time on 17 November Boris Johnson said: "I don't want to be absolutely rigid about this. I'm not saying every ward has to have an identical configuration of sergeants, constables and PCSOs." He went on, "I'm not anticipating what the shape of the force is going to be after we've been through this process …. These are operational matters. I think that borough commanders will want to have some flexibility in deciding how their resources are to be distributed across their wards. Some wards will clearly be safer than others... I think there's a case for them to be give some margin for manoeuvre."

Permanent link to this article
23rd November 2010

Police cuts to hit Brent

Letter to the Press from Navin Shah AM:

Brent Police have continually improved the quality of life for the borough’s citizens over the last decade. I feel therefore that it is a backwards step for 19 police officers to be lost in Brent this year because of a freeze in recruitment, with the possibility of bigger cuts on the way.

Under plans revealed in a report presented to the Metropolitan Police Authority the force is set to recruit 900 fewer officers by next year than previously planned. I believe these cuts do not reflect the necessity to maintain a police presence in Brent, especially when it will lead to the police having to choose which crimes they tackle with reduced resources.

The report warns that the Met will not be putting the same amount of resource into tackling winter crime this year. In previous years "Operation Bumblebee" has sought to tackle the traditional rise in burglary around Christmas time. Budget pressures could mean the force having to decide "where to target resources (e.g. serious youth violence vs. burglary)", according to the report.

The report says the Met failed to meet twelve key targets in the first quarter of financial year 2010/11. Robbery is up 5.8 per cent; knife crime has increased to 4.1 per cent; and car thefts have increased for the first time in eleven years.

The country's finances obviously mean tough choices have to be made but when it comes down to having to choose between tackling violence or burglary, it's there for all to see what the government's cuts really mean. People round here didn't cause the financial crisis yet they are being expected to take the hit for it.

In the last few years we have seen record numbers of police, dedicated safer neighbourhood teams and falling crime. It looks like this is now under threat from the new government and Mayor.

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13th October 2010