The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has warned that it would become increasingly difficult to keep Londoners safe from growing security threats if the Government continues to underfund the Met, or makes further cuts in funding. Over the coming weeks, he will be calling on ministers to listen to the very serious concerns about Londoners’ safety ahead of a Government decision on funding.
As the Government prepares to change the way the policing budget is divided between forces across the country there is a real, and potentially devastating, risk that the Met could lose millions from its budget.
The last time the police funding formula was considered by the Home Office, in Autumn 2015, the Met stood to lose between £184m and £700m from its yearly budget. Ministers are expected to make a decision about whether to proceed in March.
Already, the Met is having to find £1bn of savings as a result of systematic Government cuts since 2010. So far, this has led to the loss of 2,800 police staff, including hundreds of Police Community Support Officers, and the closure of dozens of police stations and the Mayor has asked the Met to go even further in terms of restructuring and reducing back office costs to make efficiency savings.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “Keeping Londoners safe is my first priority as Mayor. That means keeping police officer numbers as high as possible, especially in the wake of recent horrific attacks in Berlin and Istanbul.
“But in the face of continued pressures on the police budget, exacerbated and deepened by central Government, this is becoming increasingly difficult.
“This year, I have done everything I can to protect police officer numbers – including making the very difficult decision to raise council tax. But if the Government subjects London’s police service to any further cuts, it will become near impossible to maintain the number of police on our streets.
“My message to the Government today is clear: Londoners’ safety will be put at risk if police funding is cut any further, and ministers must listen to our concerns.”