The London Assembly today urged Mayor Boris Johnson to halt his plans to dilute police Safer Neighbourhood Teams and recklessly close police front counters across London.
A motion agreed by the Assembly  at today’s Greater London Authority budget meeting calls on the Mayor to retain the existing neighbourhood policing model of a dedicated sergeant supported by two Constables and three Police Community Support Officers allocated to each ward in London.
Joanne McCartney AM, who proposed the motion, said:
“Policing in London has been transformed over the last decade with Safer Neighbourhood teams leading the way in reconnecting the Met with the people it is here to serve. The Mayor is putting all that at risk by pursuing ill thought plans that have not even been properly costed.”
Caroline Pidgeon AM, who seconded the motion, said:
“Londoners value their local police stations and the local, recognisable police teams dedicated to serving their ward. Shutting up cop shops to public access and destroying the local policing model risks setting policing back more than a decade and separating the police from their communities.”
The full text of the motion agreed at today’s meeting reads as follows:
This Assembly notes the statement made by the Mayor in the Mayor's Background Statement in support of his Final Draft Consolidated Budget for 2013-14:
“The current [Draft Police and Crime Plan 2013-2017] consultation is designed to put officers before buildings, improve contact between police and the public and put more officers on the beat in local areas, providing more visible policing accountable to local people.
The Assembly also notes that despite this statement:
- The Mayor cannot demonstrate costed savings made by the closure of front counters across London though he does admit that “the closure of [a front counter] in isolation will not generate estate savings as the counter occupies only a small proportion of the building it is accommodated in  The Mayor also cannot demonstrate the costs of, or his budget for, providing new contact points to replace front counters across London.
- The Mayor has presented misleading data regarding police officer numbers for Oct 2011 in his Draft Police and Crime Plan consultation. In fact, compared to actual police numbers for Oct 2011, by 2015 half of London Boroughs will lose police officers while none will gain as many as the Mayor has promised. In addition PCSO numbers have dropped to 2,710 and are set to fall further, therefore depleting the police uniformed presence on London’s streets
- The Mayor admits that "projections for the MPS's workforce over the remainder of the Spending Review period using the Operational Policing Measure analysis  have not been completed, so he is unable to establish whether his budget will result in an increase in the frontline capacity of the service or whether the decline of the past two years will continue.
- The Mayor is stripping back Safer Neighbourhood Teams from 1 sergeant, 2 PCs and 3 PCSOs per ward to just 1 PC and 1 PCSO dedicated per ward with a “named but not dedicated” sergeant.
The Assembly therefore believes that as a result of this budget and the Mayor’s Draft Police and Crime Plan will leave London with fewer officers, a smaller frontline, fewer points of contact for the public and will strip back Safer Neighbourhood Teams leaving London’s police less visible and less accountable to local people.
The Assembly therefore:
Calls on the Mayor to rethink his reckless plans for the estate rationalisation and give priority to maintaining a good network of front counters for the public and local bases for Safer Neighbourhood Teams
Calls on the Mayor to halt his plans to dilute dedicated Safer Neighbourhood Teams and to retain the model of 1 sergeant, 2 PCs and 3 PCSOs as the standard across London
Calls on the Mayor to give clarity to Londoners regarding his use of police officers numbers in his Draft Police and Crime Plan 2013-2017.
Notes for Editors:
- The motion was agreed by 16 votes for to 9 votes against.
- Mayor's Background Statement in support of his Final Draft Consolidated Budget for 2013-14
- London Assembly Budget and Performance committee 14th January 2013, London Assembly Plenary 16th of January 2013, London Assembly Mayor’s Question Time 30th January 2013
- London Assembly Mayor’s Question Time, Question 32 / 2013
- London Assembly Plenary 16th of January 2013
- Police officer numbers for Oct 2011 on London Datastore compared to Numbers given in the Mayor’s Draft Police and Crime Plan 2013-2017
- PCSO numbers for Dec 2012 on London Datastore
- Mayor’s Final Draft Consolidated Budget, Part 2, Explanation of Proposals
- Mayor’s Draft Police and Crime Plan 2013-2017
- As well as investigating issues that matter to Londoners, the London Assembly acts as a check and a balance on the Mayor.