The Met is being asset stripped by the Mayor of London

February 10, 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 It’s morally wrong to make patients pay for hospital parking

    It’s morally wrong to make patients pay for hospital parking

    Over the Bank Holiday weekend the Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt was trumpeting his new ‘ground rules’ to address rip-off hospital car parking. Any action to curb extortionate car parking prices at hospitals should be welcomed. However, reading these new ‘principles’ it appears they are not enforceable. My assumption was confirmed when the Department of Health answered a tweet from me by stating that ‘NHS Trusts will be held accountable to local people and organisations that represent them e.g. HealthWatch’. This […]

    Read more →
  • News Failing to meet export targets – Osborne has got it wrong again, says Mahmood

    Failing to meet export targets – Osborne has got it wrong again, says Mahmood

    Today, Shabana Mahmood, Shadow Treasury Minister, has explained how George Osborne is on course to fall short of export targets he set for himself. Writing for PoliticsHome, Mahmood has released figures on British exports, which, she explains, “show that there are still major concerns about how balanced the recovery has been so far.” Two years ago Osborne said that by 2020 he would double exports to £1 trillion. However, Mahmood cites figures that suggest it looks highly unlikely that the UK could meet […]

    Read more →
  • Featured Labour call for Rotherham Police and Crime Commissioner to step down

    Labour call for Rotherham Police and Crime Commissioner to step down

    A Labour Party spokesperson has said the Shaun Wright should resign as South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC). Wright, who is Labour’s PCC, was previously a councillor on Rotherham council and  between 2005-2010 was head of children’s services. In response to a report on child abuse in the area, which found that between 1997 and 2013 1,400 children were subjected to sexual exploitation in Rotherham, Labour have called for Wright to stand down. A spokesperson reportedly told PoliticsHome: “The report […]

    Read more →
  • Comment Life skills need to be at the heart of Labour’s curriculum

    Life skills need to be at the heart of Labour’s curriculum

    When Gove was demoted and moved away from his beloved education brief you could almost hear the sound of champagne corks popping in staff rooms across England. Yet two months after the most high profile demotion of this parliament, Labour’s policy on education remains one its most underdeveloped. This is not necessarily a bad thing, saving the education debate until nearer the election could be a shrewd move for the party given that all but one of the Education department […]

    Read more →
  • News Self-harm in mental health hospitals risen by over 50%

    Self-harm in mental health hospitals risen by over 50%

    Luciana Berger, Shadow Minister for Public Health, has found that between 2010 and 2013 the number of people in mental health institutions who have attempted suicide or who have been found self-harming has risen by over 50%. At 29 of the NHS’s 52 mental health trusts, the number of suicide attempts and cases of self-harming rose from 14,815 in 2010 to 23,053 last year –  an increase of 56% . These figures, obtained by the Labour Party through a Freedom of […]

    Read more →