Policing in London - A London Assembly report into the future shape of the Metropolitan Police Service

1 June 2011

Our report warns that public and political desire to see more police officers on the street should not be allowed to reduce the Met’s overall capability.

The Metropolitan Police Authority (MPA) wants to increase the proportion of officers on operational duty.  However, the Assembly’s Budget and Performance Committee’s report Policing in London highlights the risks of moving staff from valuable support functions, as it could reduce the force’s overall effectiveness.

The Committee’s report says there are opportunities to find efficiencies by reviewing the size and resources given to specialist units which have grown in a ‘piecemeal’ and inefficient manner in recent years, leading to duplication.

Currently officers fill 45 percent of operational support roles. The Committee recognises there are reasons why some posts should not be filled by civilians, such as needing additional officers for emergency situations and police officer terms and conditions, which are set at a national level. However, the report says there is scope to make savings by using more civilians in support roles.

The Committee further argues that political commitments to protect ‘front-line policing’ mean very little because there is no shared understanding of what the ‘front line’ is.  Such commitments are therefore unlikely to reassure the public.

Watch a short video about the report findings: