Mayor announces additional £60m to bankroll MPS officer numbers against cuts

London’s mayor has put “policing before business” with a long-term injection of hundreds of millions of pounds in a rolling programme of funding designed to reduce the impact of Government cuts to Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) budgets.

Feb 14, 2018
By Adam Button

London’s mayor has put “policing before business” with a long-term injection of hundreds of millions of pounds in a rolling programme of funding designed to reduce the impact of Government cuts to Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) budgets. Sadiq Khan says the safety of Londoners “must come first”. By diverting an annual £60 million away from the capital’s transport and economic development initiatives, it will allow the force to fund “an extra 1,000 police officers than would otherwise be affordable” from 2019/20. But he warns that despite extra investment, the MPS will still be “severely stretched” and additional savings are still needed. The MPS welcomed the news at a time of “strain on policing” – admitting the bankrolling would enable the force to recruit 3,000 Londoners as new officers over the next 12 months, in addition to about a 1,000 specialist staff roles. Government spending cuts has meant that since 2010/11 the MPS’s general grant funding has fallen by more than £700 million, or nearly 40 per cent in real terms, on a like-for-like basis. This has meant it had to find more than £600 million of savings and led to the loss of a third of police staff posts – down from 14,330 to 9,985,?two-thirds of police community support officer posts – down from 4,607 to 1,591,?as well as 114 police station front counters and 120 police buildings. The Mayor has repeatedly warned that with further savings needed, the MPS is running out of options and that?police officer numbers in the capital could fall significantly below 30,000 before 2021 – a dangerous low which presents a “failing by the Government in its primary duty to ensure the safety and security of the public”. ? Months of calls for additional Government funding were answered by ministers instead allowing the Mayor and police and crime commissioners outside the capital to raise extra money via the council tax precept, a move described as “regressive” by Mr Khan. However ministers have been clear that they believe the MPS is “the best resourced police force in the country” and “has the resources it needs.” In December, Policing and Fire Services Minister Nick Hurd told MPs: “If the Mayor, as the policing and crime commissioner, disagrees with that, he has his own resources to contribute as well, which he has been very reluctant to do.” Mr Hurd also said the Mayor should stop “sitting in his bunker writing letters asking for more money” and to take advantage of “the opportunities for greater efficiency” which will help the Met balance its books. On Wednesday (February 14), the Mayor`s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC) announced the new measures were designed to halt the slide below the benchmark figure of 30,000 officers. The MOPAC statement said: “The Mayor will do all he can to avoid this happening.??So from 2019/20, he will invest an additional £59 million annually to support an extra 1,000 police officers than would otherwise be affordable by using income raised from business rates. “This will help avoid falling officer numbers at this crucial time. But as funding pressures mount officer numbers are still expected to fall below 30,000 in 2021. “This is money that would ordinarily be spent on supporting non-police services, such as transport and economic development. “The Mayor has decided that keeping Londoners as safe as possible must come first.? “So with the Government still refusing to act in the face of recorded violent crime increasing across the country, he is taking the unusual step of channelling substantial funding from business rates to the Met.” In the next 12 months, the Mayor will invest an additional £55 million in the MPS – so the force does not have to borrow the amount previously planned for investing in police buildings and new technology. A further £5 million will fund the first extra officers as the MPS’s recruitment drive begins. As a result of not needing to borrow this money, the MPS will also save £3.3 million of capital financing costs

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