Police officer speaks with member of the public on a bus

News from Sian Berry: Commuting cops – half of London police still live outside city

26 October 2018

Half of London’s police still live outside the city, according to new data from Sian Berry.

The numbers haven’t improved despite more emergency worker housing being the top recommendation in 2016 of a report into London’s preparedness to respond to major incidents. [1]
Although the proportion of officers living in London has remained at just under 50 per cent, actual numbers have dropped from 8,927 in 2016 to 8,320 this year. [2]

In many inner London boroughs, only a tiny number of officers actually live in the communities they serve every day. On average, nine per cent of officers live in the borough that they work: Greenwich and Hammersmith and Fulham now have no officers living in the borough, with two in Kensington and Chelsea and five in Merton.

Housing costs may play a part in where officers choose to live as average rents are now more than 50 per cent of the take-home pay of a new police constable.

Sian says:

Police officers are suffering from the blight of inflated housing costs like the rest of us, but for them to be most effective at their jobs they need to have a real connection to the diverse communities they serve.

I said this two years ago when I last looked into where our police officers live – but nothing has changed. I’m disappointed the Mayor has not managed to help our officers, by any measure, to access housing they can actually afford.

As the Harris report recommended, the Mayor should step in to make sure people who start their careers working in our emergency services can access housing they can afford, and he should also give officers incentives to stay in London when their family circumstances and housing needs change.

Percentage of borough officers living outside London 2018