Boris Johnson was challenged today over cuts to the Metropolitan Police in Newham. Mr Johnson and the Metropolitan Police Commissioner faced questions at City Hall from local Labour Assembly Member John Biggs. Boris was questioned about cuts to frontline policing cover including cuts to police stations, police officers and the recent “sham” consultations that his deputy Stephen Greenhalgh has been attending across London.
The question and answer session comes at a time when the full extent of cuts to London’s emergency services has become clearer. In the past week the Mayor has confirmed which police and fire stations will be closed. A map outlining the extent of the cuts to emergency services across London has been compiled by Labour Group Leader Len Duvall AM.
The closures across the capital include: the loss of nine out of 32 A&E; cutting 12 fire stations, 18 fire engines and 560 fire-fighters; and the closure of 65 police front counters and stations.
The closures across Newham include the closure of the fire station at Silvertown, the closure of the police stations at Stratford and North Woolwich, along with a reduction of the operating hours of the police station at Plaistow from 24hour to daytime only.
Local Labour London Assembly Member John Biggs said:
“Today I challenged Boris on his planned cuts to the Police. In Newham there will be a staggering loss of 296 front counter hours and yet the Mayor has so far identified only 24 replacement hours. This is just not good enough. He is cutting too far, too fast and is hitting the frontline. On top of this he is stripping back our local Safer Neighbourhood Police Teams this will mean fewer locally based police officers and PCSOs across London. This looks like a return to ‘sector’ policing which was abandoned as it was ineffective.
"We already know that Newham has lost 46 police officers in the last two years, but the Mayor’s plan confirms that the majority of London’s boroughs will have fewer police officers by 2015 than they did in 2010. All this is happening at a time when the London Fire Brigade and our Hospital Accident & Emergency Departments are also being cut back. This is further evidence that the Mayor and government are cutting too far, too fast and are hitting the frontline.”