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Mayor Calls On Chancellor To Put Safety First In The Autumn Budget

  • Mayor calls for real-terms increase in overall Met funding, saying additional funding for Counter Terrorism is welcome, but simply not enough on its own
  • Sadiq Khan urges London Assembly’s Police & Crime Committee to join him in lobbying Chancellor ahead of autumn Budget
  • Police budgets have been reduced in real terms by the Treasury every year since 2010 – while inflation continues to rise
  • Police pay rise of two per cent will cost London’s police force an additional £13.7 million
  • Five terrorist attacks across the country, the most recent just last week, and rising crime mean real-terms cuts to police budgets must end now

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, (Wednesday 20 September) called on the Chancellor to reverse years of underfunding and use the autumn Budget to make sure the police and security services have the resources they need to keep the public safe.

Speaking to London Assembly’s Police and Crime Committee just five days since 15 September’s Parsons Green terror attack, Sadiq Khan made it clear that if the Treasury continues with its policy of real-terms cuts to police funding, officer numbers will fall dangerously low and Londoners’ safety will be put at risk.

Police force budgets have been reduced in real terms by the Treasury every year since 2010, completely failing to take into account the increasing demand or inflationary pressure on policing. In London, the scale of this police funding crisis has already led to the loss of almost 3,000 police community support officers, most of the capital’s police station front counters and 120 police buildings in order to protect frontline police officers. Officer numbers are now at risk of falling below 30,000 for the first time since 2003, just as they are needed most.

Inflation has risen to 2.9 per cent and staff pay, pensions, and utilities continue to cost more every year. Crime is increasing, in volume, complexity and harm. London’s population is forecast to reach a record 10 million by 2030, and terrorism remains a constant and evolving threat, with five attacks across the country, four of them in the capital, in the last few months alone.

In the wake of the Parsons Green attack, the Home Secretary announced an additional £24 million for Counter Terrorism operations across the country. However, for every pound of Counter Terrorism spend in response to an incident, an additional £2 is spent on necessary additional non-Counter Terrorism activity, which has to come from wider policing budgets. The Mayor is clear that wider policing, not just counter terror, must be properly funded in the years to come, and that neighbourhood police officers in our communities are the eyes and ears of the security services when it comes to stopping terrorist attacks. 

The Government also recently announced a one per cent bonus for police officers above the one per cent pay cap, representing an additional cost of £13.7m per year for London policing – which must be funded from existing police budgets, meaning more cuts elsewhere.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “The cowardly terror attack at Parsons Green station highlighted once more the courage and selflessness of our emergency services, who ran towards danger whilst directing others to safety. But it also highlighted the unprecedented demands on our police service, and how they desperately need proper funding to tackle new threats and keep us safe.

“Government cuts have already resulted in the loss of PCSOs, police buildings and most of the capital’s police station front counters. We are now in real danger of officer numbers dropping dangerously low. I’ve made neighbourhood policing one of my highest priorities, but despite this progress, the simple fact is that the Met’s budget is on a cliff edge and forces across the country having to make impossible choices to protect the frontline.

“Last week, the government recognised the value of our police service, with an announcement that officers will receive an additional one per cent pay increase for the next 12 months. But with no additional funds to pay for it, this puts even more pressure on police budgets and will inevitably mean cuts elsewhere. We have the best police service in the world and they deserve to be paid properly – but taking money from other parts of the police budget is not the answer.

“The Chancellor must use his Budget to put an end to years of police underfunding across the country.”

Sadiq Khan has already called on the Home Secretary for urgent confirmation that the Government will abandon its unwelcome funding formula review and that Met funding will be increased to ensure crisis is averted and the capital can be kept safe. He has done everything he can to provide additional funds and protect the frontline, including increasing the council tax precept by the maximum percentage possible and launching a public consultation on draft proposals to close even more front counters. But it is not enough.

 A reduction in officer numbers will mean more pressure on the already overstretched teams who protect the most vulnerable Londoners, and reductions in proactive and preventative work to tackle serious, organised crime and terrorism. It will also limit the capacity to respond to large-scale incidents and maintain a heightened police presence for any length of time.