Publication from Siân Berry: Where do our borough police live?
In May 2016, I obtained data showing where London’s borough police officers live. It shows that almost half of them – 49 per cent – live outside London.
In 2013, the Met recognised that the number of officers based outside London was something they needed to change but the lack of progress since then concerns me.
I think that the service to Londoners provided by the Metropolitan Police Service – and our community’s confidence in that service – would be improved if more borough police officers were drawn from and lived within the areas they serve.
What should happen next?
I believe that London needs more police who represent and understand the communities they serve, particularly those working as borough officers. Mayor Sadiq Khan’s manifesto similarly promises to “Promote a police force that looks like the communities it is charged with keeping safe, with the aim of having a Met that is as diverse as London’s population.”
I recommend the Met Commissioner and new Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime to revisit the issue of where our police live. This should form part of their strategy to recruit more woman and ethnic minorities. They should make more effective plans to recruit from within London. They should also do more to support and incentivise officers to stay in London when their family circumstances and housing needs change.
Police officers need to have a real understanding of London’s diverse boroughs and communities. We have to recruit and retain more officers who don’t just look like the people they serve but who come from and live in our communities.
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