News from Len Duvall OBE: Bobbies pulled off beat for 329 shifts in Lewisham every month

22 February 2016

Lewisham’s police officers are being routinely ‘abstracted’ from their local beats to plug gaps in London-wide public order operations new figures have revealed. The new data found that 329 officer shifts are being lost from Lewisham police force every month according to Metropolitan Police statistics provided to Labour’s London Assembly policing spokesperson Joanne McCartney.


The figures showed that in 2014, Lewisham officers were removed from their local beat for 329 shifts. In the first nine months of 2015, the latest period for which data is available, 2847 neighbourhood policing shifts were lost to abstractions. Across the capital 111,684 shifts were lost in 2014, more than 2,000 a week.


The Metropolitan police said that the officer shifts were provided by boroughs to “support London wide Public Order operations.” These kind of operations generally include large scale events in other parts of the capital.


The revelation comes after Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) included the Metropolitan Police in a list of 18 England and Wales forces “requiring improvement” after recent inspections. HMIC highlighted that a shortage of trained detectives and basic equipment is undermining their ability to reduce crime and keep people safe as well as raising concerns about the capacity of staff charged with preventing reoffending.


Labour London Assembly Member for Greenwich and Lewisham, Len Duvall AM said:


“When officers are being removed from Lewisham’s streets 329 times a month it’s incredibly misleading of the Mayor to claim they are local bobbies.


“Londoners want neighbourhood police to be visible in their communities not pulled off the beat to plug gaps in other parts of London.


“The Mayor’s cuts have meant neighbourhood police teams in Lewisham have already lost 131 uniformed officers since 2010. To then further reduce local teams by over 329 officer shifts a month damages the capacity of local policing teams to police their neighbourhoods.


“At the heart of concerns set out in the latest HMIC report is a shortage of both police officers and funding with HMIC finding that the lack of trained detectives and basic equipment is undermining their ability to reduce crime and keep people safe. This won’t be helped by regularly removing officers from boroughs.”

Notes to editors

  • Data on police abstractions in 2015, broken down by borough, from Mayor’s Questions can be found here . Data on police abstractions in 2014 from Mayors Questions can be found here.


  • The number of officers lost from London Boroughs since 2010 can be seen in the table below. This data is provided monthly by the London Datastore and can be accessed here.



Uniformed officers assigned to Lewisham  







Number decline since May 10


Percentage Decline since May 10



  • Len Duvall AM is the London Assembly Member for Greenwich and Lewisham

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