Sadiq Khan: Police numbers in London could fall to lowest level since 2002

Police numbers in London could fall to lowest level since 2002, says Sadiq Khan

Monday, December 3, 2018

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has said the number of police officers in the Capital could drop to their lowest levels since 2002, unless financial cuts are stopped.

Khan claimed Metropolitan Police numbers could drop to 26,800 if further cuts are placed upon the force.

Khan is due to meet Home Secretary Sajid Javid on Tuesday to discuss the police funding settlement for 2019-20, which the Home Office has said is expected "in due course".

The force is required to make a further £335 million worth of savings by 2022, Mr Khan's office said, basing their figures on "updated and detailed" calculations by the Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime ahead of the Mayor's next budget.

The figure is £10 million more than previous forecasts, they said, claiming it could lead to officer numbers falling to their lowest level since 2002.

This forecast also takes account of a change in police pensions which will require Scotland Yard to meet an increase in its annual pension bill of £104 million from 2020, equivalent to more than 1,700 officers, the Mayor's office added.

It said the calculations were made on the basis that Khan will increase the policing element of the council tax precept by 5.1%, or £12 per household.

This would raise an additional £49 million which is equivalent to 800 police officers, the office added.


'Upsurge in violent crime'

The Mayor of London said that “even the Home Secretary” had admitted that the police could not tackle crime without more funding.

"The causes of violent crime are extremely complex, but there is no doubt it has been made far worse by huge government cuts to the police and youth services,” he said.

"Even the Home Secretary has finally admitted that the Met won't be able to tackle violent crime without more funding from the Government.

"Now we urgently need to see action to avoid officer numbers falling even further.

"Government cuts have led to London losing 3,000 police officers and more than 3,000 PCSOs and 5,000 police staff and I'm genuinely concerned about how we keep Londoners safe with officer numbers as low as 26,800.

"Ministers need to reverse the £1 billion savings forced on the Met and reverse their cuts on youth services and other preventative services so that we can keep our city safe."

On Friday Khan dismissed a reported £600 million funding boost for police in England and Wales, warning far more is needed to tackle the upsurge in violent crime.

It was reported that the Home Secretary had secured an agreement to allow local authorities to double the amount they can add to council tax bills for policing.

Chancellor Philip Hammond and Communities Secretary James Brokenshire were said to have provisionally agreed authorities can increase the precept charge on council tax bills from £1 a month to £2 a month.

The rise, which would come in in April, could raise around £450 million for forces in England and Wales, according to the report.