The Met is being asset stripped by the Mayor of London

10th February, 2013 1:55 pm

We owe a continuing debt of gratitude to the men and women of the Metropolitan Police. They are in general superb public servants, doing a very difficult and very important job extremely well. The Met were rightly praised for their work during the Olympics and the Diamond Jubilee last year but it is the less high profile work they do – the bread and butter of policing work; their contribution to keeping our communities safe, pursuing criminals and supporting victims which remains fundamental and which the overwhelming majority do with considerable skill and dedication.

Nevertheless the future of policing in London is under scrutiny and with good reason. Under the stewardship of the Mayor of London and the Conservative Party the Metropolitan Police has already seen a drop of over 4,000 police officers; PCs and PCSOs, on London’s streets since the General Election, a period when the capital saw major riots take place and growing concern about gang violence.

A cut of almost 20% in the Government’s grant to the Metropolitan Police, supported by the Mayor and the Government is the driving factor behind the cuts to police funding that are now being debated across London.

Using a choice of statistics, which the characters of the Thick of It would have been proud of, the Mayor’s Plan promises more police recruitment. The truth however is that there will be dramatically fewer police officers by 2015 and that those police officers will be significantly less experienced than now.

On the figures the Mayor of London has published two-thirds of boroughs will still have fewer police officers by the end of 2015 then they had at the time of the last General Election. Indeed there will be at least 1,133 fewer police officers according to the Mayor’s Office. As estimates for the number of PCSOs per borough have not been published but with further substantial cuts to PCSO recruitment likely; 1,100 by 2015/16 according to the Greater London Assembly Police and Crime Committee, every borough will by the next election have significantly fewer uniformed police officers in total patrolling their streets than they did in 2010.

Whilst the Mayor’s plan is at pains to appear committed to Safer Neighbourhood policing – it certainly retains the language, in practice it’s clear in Boris’s plans that model is over. Local police teams are being squashed. Instead of each community in Harrow for example having at least 1 sergeant, 3 PCs and 3 PCSOs only 1 PC and 1 PCSO will be left dedicated just to that community. In my constituency the areas of West Harrow, Rayners Lane and North Harrow will go from having 28 uniformed police officers dedicated to these communities to just 8.

This drop in police numbers is noteworthy of itself but comparing the number and percentage of crimes solved reveals that a sharp drop in the number and crucially the percentage of crimes being solved. 22,600 fewer crimes were solved in London in 2011/12 compared to 2009/10 and the percentage of crimes solved dropped to 21.6%. These figures are perhaps not surprising either when cuts to number of prosecutors available to the Crown Prosecution Service in London are taken into account.

The Met is set to lose vital experienced police officers. By 2015 there will be considerably fewer sergeants (some estimates suggest 1,300 will be axed). Inspectors and chief inspectors are also being axed and superintendents’ numbers are also being cut. The Mayor’s plan describes these positions as “supervisory grades” In truth these roles, and crucially the experience and skill mix of the senior staff in these positions are fundamental to the effective pursuit of the criminal, the passage of the accused through the legal process and the sensitive support of the victim.

There still remains a huge need for more black and ethnic minority officers be to be recruited into the senior ranks of the Metropolitan Police. It is good news that the Commissioner wants to see new measures to address this problem but there is little evidence that Home Office Ministers are driving this agenda.

The Metropolitan Police Service is one of the great assets London has. It deserves inspired political leadership. Instead it is being asset stripped by the Mayor of London and ordinary Londoners will be the ones who lose out.

Gareth Thomas is Shadow Minister for Civil Society and Deputy Shadow Minister for London

  • Quiet_Sceptic

    I’m not sure the author understands what asset stripping is, Boris is cutting police funding and very likely reducing the quality of policing but that is not asset stripping. Asset stripping would be selling off the Met’s assets, like their estate (police stations, offices etc) or vehicles.

    • JoeDM

      What? And allow accuracy of language spoil a good spin story !!!!!! That would never do.

      This is yet another example of why politicians are not trusted.

Latest

  • Comment We can be winning the economic arguments, right now

    We can be winning the economic arguments, right now

    Watching our earnest contenders debating exactly how many pro-business credentials they have to display to make Labour electable makes me almost nostalgic for May 2010. We seem to enjoy wallowing in the self-deprecating, self-pitying comfort zone of defeat, happy to leave the Tories to dismantle our public services (again), while we studiously beat ourselves up in public about Ed’s deficit blankout and Liam’s silly note. We’ve forgotten how on that fateful Thursday evening, no-one was more surprised with that exit […]

    Read more →
  • Comment PMQs Verdict: Harman’s hardened Heathrow stance will pay dividends for Labour down the line

    PMQs Verdict: Harman’s hardened Heathrow stance will pay dividends for Labour down the line

    Harriet Harman’s impressive PMQs form continues unabated. Post-election David Cameron may be in too strong a position to really struggle at the weekly bouts, but where previous Labour leaders would have wilted, Harman comes away with what, on balance, we can probably call a victory. She used her first questions to talk about the terrorists attack in Tunisia last week, and ask the PM about what steps the Government is taking to help victims and their families. As always, there […]

    Read more →
  • News Video Dennis Skinner: “No wonder they call him Dodgy Dave”

    Dennis Skinner: “No wonder they call him Dodgy Dave”

    Today Dennis Skinner took to the Commons floor to ask David Cameron a question about miners’ pensions. He said to that Cameron hasn’t “got the guts to help miners”, arguing “no wonder they call him Dodgy Dave”. Skinner was interrupted by Cameron who made this ageist comment, calling the MP for Bolsover “Jurrasic Park.” This isn’t the first time the PM has directed such a remark at Skinner; in 2012 he had to apologise after calling the Bolsover MP a “dinosaur”. You […]

    Read more →
  • Featured News Labour back Heathrow expansion but the party are divided over the issue

    Labour back Heathrow expansion but the party are divided over the issue

    Labour today confirmed they will back Heathrow expansion – but the party are not completely united on the issue. Today the Airports Commission, also known as the Davies Commission, has recommended that a third runway should be built at Heathrow. It was thought the Commission might leave room for expansion to take place at Gatwick. However after three years of investigation, the Commission has concluded that it is “clear and unanimous” that Heathrow is the best place for a new […]

    Read more →
  • Featured News Labour call for “annual equal pay checks” to see which companies are paying women less than men

    Labour call for “annual equal pay checks” to see which companies are paying women less than men

    Labour have called for an annual equal pay check to see which British companies are paying women less than men. Tomorrow in an opposition day debate Gloria de Piero, the shadow equalities minister, will say that there needs to be an “annual equal pay check”. She will say that this should be carried out by the Equalities and Human Rights Commission (EHRC). As of next year, companies that employ more than 250 have to publish figures showing the pay gap […]

    Read more →
Share with your friends










Submit