The mayor presented his draft ï¿½13.6 billion budget to the London Assembly this week saying he could fund "more uniformed fully warranted police officers than ever before" despite government grants to London being cut by ï¿½618 billion. But official police figures show that officer numbers have fallen from 33,238 last February to 32,502.
ï¿½ The number of local neighbourhood sergeants will be cut by 100 this year and then halved, from 630 to 330, in the next two years. While each and every ward in Westminster is currently served by a minimum of three community support officers, two constables and one sergeant, the mayor admitted this week that ‘smaller’ or supposedly safer wards could be merged. He said this despite a review into neighbourhood policing which has yet to recommend any changes.
Local Assembly member, Murad Qureshi, said: "The figures are clear, police numbers are falling despite the mayor opening up recruitment. You can’t cut half a billion from our budget and protect front line services – the sums just don’t add up.
"Survey after survey shows that crime and safety are top concerns for Londoners yet because of the cuts of this mayor and government we’re losing uniformed officers from the front line and this will make us all feel less safe."
Boris Johnson’s budget also cuts the number of police community support officers in London by almost 800 – 900 by 2013/14 – and the number of traffic wardens by 96 per cent this year.
All 102 police community support officer posts currently part of the Met’s safer schools teams are being lost. Although extra police officers will be assigned to the teams.
Boris Johnson said this week, "At a time of huge financial pressure weï¿½re able to deploy another 500-odd frontline officers and actually increase the number of warranted officers at a time of huge budget cuts across the country. It shows what you can do if you cut the things that can be cut" (BBC Radio 4, World at One, 10 February).
Murad Qureshi is a London wide Labour Assembly member and a former Councillor in Westminster.
The London Assembly this week (Thursday 10 February) said the mayor’s budget "failed to address three concerns for Londoners on policing, sustained investment and environmental problems". The Assembly urged the mayor to put more money into neighbourhood policing. A webcast of the meeting can be viewed here.
Read the mayor’s draft budget here http://www.london.gov.uk/who-runs-london/greater-london-authority/budget-2011-12
For further information please contact Alison Marcroft on 020 7983 4363