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Navin Shah GLA Brent & Harrow
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Boris Johnson’s Special Constable pledge in tatters as numbers plummet 57% in Brent & 47% in Harrow

Boris Johnson’s Special Constable pledge in tatters as numbers plummet 57% in Brent & 47% in Harrow


The Mayor of London’s promise to “double the number of Special Officers to 10,000” looks to be in tatters after the Met’s latest figures showed that there are now only 3,253 Specials in the capital, 43% fewer than in May 2012 when he made the pledge. In Brent the number fell 57% from 175 in May 2012 to only 76 in December 2015. In Harrow the number fell 47% from 138 in May 2012 to only 73 in December 2015.


Special constables are volunteer police officers with all the powers of police officers. The falling number of special constables comes on top of significant cuts to the number of police community support officers (PCSOs) over the past few years. Met statistics show that in Brent since 2010 135 PCSOs and 703 Police officers have been cut from the streets, 29% of the original number. Labour London Assembly Member for Brent and Harrow Navin Shah, warned that the cumulative impact of the drop in Specials, PCSOs and police officers risks leaving a “much reduced police force for his successor.”


When the Mayor was re-elected in May 2012 there were 5,677 Specials in London, according to the latest figures there are now only 3,253. The figures represent an embarrassing failure for the Mayor who previously said that Specials represented a ‘vital link’ between the police and the public.


Labour London Assembly Member for Brent and Harrow, Navin Shah AM said:


“In 2012 Boris recognised the significant role Special Constables play in providing an important link between the police and public and bolstering our police service. Despite his promise to double their ranks what we’ve actually seen is a dramatic and continuing fall in the number of Special Constables, including in Brent which has seen a 29% decline. At this rate he may well have less than half of what he started with by the time he leaves office.


“With PCSO and police officer numbers also in decline, the falling number of Specials should be of real concern. Boris should be asking why the Met is failing to attract enough people, is it because the opportunities are not well enough advertised or is the increasing pressure facing the police putting people off?


“Between the drop in Special and PCSO numbers, Boris looks set to leave a much reduced police force for his successor.”





-       Figures on Police Officer and PCSO numbers can be found here.

-       A breakdown of the decline in Special Constables between 2012 and 2015 can be found below:




Special Constables

MPS Total










Decrease in Special Constables since May 2012




% loss




Source: Met datastore, accessed 02 March 2016

-       A breakdown of the decline in Police Officers and PCSOs between 2010 and 2015 can be found below:




MPS Total


Officers May 2010



PCSOs May 2010



Uniformed Officers May 2010



Officers Dec 15



PCSOs Dec 15



Total Uniformed Officers Dec 2015








Police Officer Number decline since May 10



Police Officer % decline since May 10








PCSO Decline since May 10



PCSO % Decline since May 10







Uniformed Officer Decline May 10



% Uniformed Officer Decline



Source: Met datastore, accessed 02 March 2016

-       In his 2012 Crime Manifesto, available here, Boris Johnson wrote “I will aim to double the current number of Special Constables further to 10,000. Their remit will be to work in the evenings, on the transport network and with Safer Neighbourhood Teams.” (page 13)

-       In the same document the Mayor said Specials were a “vital link between the police and the public, strengthening the consent and support on which the police rely.” (page 13)


New figures reveal 2,900 Met Police Officers cut since 2010

The Metropolitan Police’s latest figures reveal that over 2,900 police officers have been cut since May 2010. Since his re-election last May Boris Johnson has cut over 1,300 police officers – despite promising an extra 1,000. The latest drop in police numbers comes at a time when the Mayor and government are considering buying water cannons for the police.

The majority of police officers that have been cut have come from borough police teams:

  • In Brent 89 police officers have been lost
  • In Harrow 66 police officers have been lost

 These latest figures are deeply concerning. Not only have we lost 89 police officers in Brent, 66 in Harrow and nearly 3,000 police officers in London since May 2010, but the vast majority – 2,700 – have been lost from borough police teams. Hollowing out the frontline like this cannot continue. This week we learned that the government and Mayor are considering buying water cannons to use on our streets. It looks like the Met are under real strain, without enough police officers.

Instead of cutting the police budget by 20 per cent and buying water cannons the government and Mayor should be properly resourcing the police. These cuts are completely unacceptable. Boris’ latest policing plan claims that it will put more police into the boroughs and on the streets, the evidence tells a very different story. The Mayor and the Government’s cuts are too far, too fast.




  1. In September 2012 Boris Johnson said at Mayor’s Question Time: “I do think that it is important to keep Police numbers high…It is something that not everybody necessarily agrees with me about.  A lot of people say that the numbers themselves do not matter.  I think that they do matter.  I think that it is important that we keep them at or around 32,000.”

Navin Shah AM calls on Mayor to reverse police cuts in face of rising crime

Recent figures show the affect police cuts are having on crime in Brent and Harrow. I, along with my Labour Group colleagues, have called on the Mayor to reverse his police cuts as it was revealed that Brent has lost 38 officers in the last two years and Harrow has lost 40.

The vacancy level in Brent's Police is 64 per cent and and 46.15 per cent in Harrow. In March 2010 there were 703 officers based in Brent. By December last year the number had fallen to 665 officers in Brent. The Harrow figures show a drop from 403 officers in March 2010 to 363 in December last last year.

Across London the Mayor has cut 1,700 police officers in the last two years.

The most recent Metropolitan Police crime figures, released two weeks ago, revealed that total crime rose by 6.3% in Brent in the last year.

These figures reveal the full extent of Boris Johnson’s police cuts. Rather than embracing the government’s cuts to the police we need a Mayor who will make sure we have enough police on our streets.  

The loss of officers is completely unacceptable. As personal robbery, burglary and drug-related crimes are rising in our borough we need more police on our streets, not less. That’s why I’m calling on the Mayor to protect the police to help keep our streets safe for all of us.


While overall crime in London is down 1 per cent in the last year, certain types of violent crime including burglary, robbery and muggings have risen significantly:


Wounding/GBH up 7%

Total sexual up 20.6%

Robbery personal up 14.7%

Burglary dwelling up 10.9%

Total drugs up 33.8%

Total Crime 6.2%


Robbery personal up 40.8%

Burglary dwelling up 14.1%

Theft of pedal cycles up 23.8%

Navin Shah AM

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30th January 2012

‘TOTAL POLICING’ says New Met Commissioner

The Met Police Commissioner of London, Bernard Hogan Howe, visited Harrow early this month to talk about his ‘Total Policing’ concept to the residents of Harrow, Brent and Barnet. Addressing the gathering of the three Boroughs he explained his ambition of making London’s police the best service in the country and the world. However, he revealed a disturbing rise in crime and burglary figures (noted below) in the boroughs of Brent, Harrow and Barnet.

Compared to the 2010/11 figures:

  • In Brent personal robbery has increased by 14%, residential burglaries have gone up by 15% and there is decrease of 31% in detection rate. Over the same period there were 19,600 cases of stop and search with 7% arrest rate as compared to 4,200 cases of stop and search incidents in Harrow.
  • In Harrow personal robbery has increased by 63%, residential burglaries have gone up by 15% and there is decrease of 31% in detection rate. Over the same period there were 4200 cases of stop and search with 7% arrest rate with dramatic increase in sickness level in PCSOs and overall increase in the level of police sickness.

police lamp.jpg

Attending this meeting, in my constituency of Brent and Harrow, which was a very welcome initiative from the new Met Commissioner I took the opportunity to quiz him on one the most important issues about reduced police numbers in both Brent and Harrow. With the crime and burglary numbers rising I have grave concerns about depleted safer neighbourhood teams with reduced number of sergeants and the ability of Brent and Harrow to remain safe.

I also pointed out to the Commissioner residents' concerns during the London Olympics when a large number of local police would be deployed in London. In his reply to the reduced police numbers the Commissioner said he was reasonably confident that the resources were broadly right for now and he told the audience to expect a ‘significant announcement in April’. On the matter of police cover in Brent and Harrow during the Olympics he accepted that there would be smaller police numbers in outer London Boroughs but he’d be able to manage as there’d  be help from ‘mutual aid’ deployment of police forces from other parts of the country.

I have no doubt that the Commissioner is ambitious and serious about his plans to improve London’s policing. But I’m concerned that we are witnessing a trend of increased crime and burglary rates as confirmed by the Commissioner and the decreasing police numbers including loss of half of sergeants would hamper our Safer Neighbourhood Teams from keeping our localities safe and put at risk our success in combating crime. I wonder whether the Commissioner’s reference to ‘significant announcement in April’ is about a short term fix before the Mayoral elections. Reduced level of police during the London Olympics in Outer London areas like Harrow and Brent remains a big cause of concern to me.

Navin Shah AM

Permanent link to this article
30th January 2012