Mayor of London increases policing budget
15 February 2018
MAYOR OF London Sadiq Khan has announced that he is investing approximately £60m of additional resources in the Metropolitan Police this year, and in future years, in order to reduce the impact of the government’s cuts to policing budgets.
This new annual funding, which will be diverted away from non-policing initiatives in London, will be used from 2019-20 to make it possible to support an extra 1,000 police officers than would otherwise be affordable.
Since 2010-11, the Met’s general grant funding from the Government has fallen by more than £700 million, or nearly 40 per cent in real terms, on a like-for-like basis. In recent years, the Met Police have had to find more than £600m of savings. This has 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.
Mayor Kahn has repeatedly warned that with further savings needed, the Met 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 serious risk to the safety of Londoners.
So, from 2019-20, the mayor will invest an additional £59m annually to support an extra 1,000 police officers than would otherwise be affordable by using income raised from business rates. 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. In the next 12 months, the mayor will invest an additional £55m in the Metropolitan Police so they do not have to borrow the amount previously planned for investing in police buildings and new technology. He will also invest £5m to fund the first extra officers as the Met’s recruitment drive starts.
As a result of not needing to borrow this money, the Met will also save £3.3m of capital financing costs from April 2019. This will be spent on mental health funding. Furthermore, additional funding has been made available from April for the campaigns to reduce violence against women and girls and female genital mutilation and funding for a new Countering Violent Extremism programme.
Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “The Government is failing in its primary duty to ensure the safety and security of the public.
“Following massive government cuts to police forces and preventative services over the course of nearly eight years, crime is rising across the country, particularly violent crime such as knife crime and robbery.
“I’m not willing to stand by when it’s the safety of Londoners being put at risk. So I’ve taken the decision to allocate the Met funding using money collected from business rates that would usually be spent on other important projects in London.
“This is a significant boost in funding, which will mean we’ll be able to support an additional 1,000 police officers from 2019-20 than would otherwise be affordable. But I want to be clear: this alone will not reverse the rise in crime we are seeing in London and across the country. It will merely enable us to keep our heads above water for the next two years. The Met will still be severely stretched, government funding remains inadequate, savings and transformation are still needed and officer numbers are expected to fall after 2019-20.
“We are facing an unprecedented, sustained threat from terrorism, a growing population, and the consequences of years of government cuts to preventative services, such as youth centres and community services.
“In order to truly tackle the rise in crime, the Government needs to urgently invest in our police forces so that we can significantly boost, rather than just maintain in the short term, police officer numbers and restore funding for the services that provide alternative paths away from crime, such as youth services.”
The extra funding from business rates and the Mayor’s proposed council tax increase will still not meet the pressures of London’s rising population, increases in crime both in the capital and across the country, the dramatic shift in the threat of further terrorist attacks, the additional pressure of the Grenfell fire investigation, or justified pay rises for the police, which were decided by the home secretary without providing the funds.