Do you feel safe walking the streets of London? Do you feel that your police service is nearby, ready to attend if you need us? Nearly half of you said you do not see enough police officers on the beat where you live.
This is according to data from the Neighbourhood Confidence Comparator, a rolling survey of more than 12,000 Londoners by the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime, which showed that 47% of people do not believe that the force “Met’ has a visible presence in their area.
63 local police stations have closed, with officers having to work out of coffee stores and a health food outlet to try and remain accessible to members of the public. Recently, an editorial in The Mail on Sunday said that in cases such as these, police officers had no desks, or a private area in which to discuss issues with people requiring help.
£1.4 billion less is now being spent on keeping London safe which is a huge threat to public safety. Nationally 17,000 police officers and 16,000 police staff members have been lost. To put this in perspective, this is enough people to make seven whole police forces!
It is now a month since the launch of the continuation of the #CutsHaveConsequences Campaign successfully launched by Essex Police Federation. A campaign aimed at highlighting the impact of cuts being imposed on the Metropolitan Police Service, and in turn how this will affect the communities of London. In real terms, cuts to policing budgets means less money, which in turn results in less policing with fewer warranted police officers available to deal with the ever increasing number of incidents (very strange, because did the Prime Minister not tell us that crime is falling?).
There are now 4,333 fewer uniformed officers on our streets since the Coalition Government came to power, so is it little wonder that many do not feel that they have a visible police presence in their area? Unfortunately the government remains determined to do away with a further 16,000 officers – 35,000 in total, which will have a dramatic effect on the service’s ability to combat this and other problems.
Stephen Greenhalgh, London’s Deputy Mayor, has gone on record saying that the Metropolitan Police has had to make £600m worth of cuts over the past four years and is expected to be forced to make a further £3.5bn by 2020.This would make it “difficult to maintain frontline officer numbers” and “very hard to manage by 2020”, he said.
Alongside this, the Met’s Deputy Commissioner Craig Mackey has told the London Assembly’s Budget and Performance Committee that “the police were struggling with budget cuts and that morale in the force was not good”.
Budget bribe anybody?