Revealed: Mayor releases figures to show true scale of cuts to police

27 June 2018
  • Number of police officers per head of population in London at lowest point for 20 years


  • Police spending per head has fallen faster in London than in any other police force


  • Sadiq brings together London government leaders to tackle knife crime


New figures released today by the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, show for the first time the true extent of the impact of government cuts to policing. City Hall data shows that in 2010 the Metropolitan Police had 4.1 officers per 1,000 Londoners but, after crippling government cuts to police spending, the ratio has now dropped to 3.3 officers per 1,000 – the lowest point for twenty years.


Statistics also reveal that police spending per head in London has fallen faster in the Met than in any other police force. London has seen a rapid population growth in recent years, and with savings of £720 million delivered by the Met since 2010, net revenue expenditure per head of population reduced from £423 in 2012/13 to £337 in 2016/17. It is the largest reduction nationally at 20 per cent, compared to six per cent across the country.


The figures come as the Mayor today brings together leaders from across London’s government to agree a joint approach to tackle the rise in violent and knife crime.


Key players from the police, community safety partnerships and local community groups will come together at a London Knife Crime Summit to share best practice and ensure consistent standards across all boroughs to help young people turn their backs on a life of a crime.


Local authority leaders and chief executives, representatives from the probation service, Youth Justice Board, NHS England, members of the Police and Crime Committee and MPs will hear the Mayor set out the opportunity they have to work together by focusing on a public-health approach to violence reduction. The summit is a working group of all leaders across the capital, building on action plans to tackle violence and set agreed standards and approaches by all London councils. 


The Mayor believes government Ministers are failing to show leadership in response to the increase in violent and knife crime across the country, and he is determined to do everything in his power to tackle the issue. He has invested £138m in the Metropolitan Police in the last two years, which will help put an additional 1,000 officers on the streets than would otherwise be affordable.


Met statistics show up to May this year, 970 knives have been recovered by the from London’s streets, together with 98 firearms. The Met has also made 166 arrests for offensive weapons.


The Mayor has also invested £15m in the Violent Crime Taskforce – a unit to specifically tackle knife crime. Over the last week, the taskforce has carried out 615 weapons sweeps, seized six firearms and 135 knives. They also made a series of arrests for theft, drugs and firearms offences, including three people for possession of CS spray.


Sadiq is clear that enforcement alone will not reduce violence across the country, and that is why he has created a brand new Young Londoners Fund  – a brand-new £45million fund for local communities and charities to help young people fulfil their potential, particularly those who are at risk of getting caught up in crime.


Yet today’s figures show the government’s focus on cuts to save money over safety continues to have a profound effect on crime, with officer numbers at the Met dropping below 30,000 for the first time in 15 years. The new Home Secretary is the first government Minister to break ranks, recognising the scale of the challenge facing the Met over resources, officer numbers and increased crime.


But the Mayor is clear that with a huge amount of savings delivered by the Met since 2010 and a further £325m needed by 2021, Sajid Javid’s pledge to prioritise funding in next year’s Spending Review is too late. Sadiq insists the government must immediately halt planned cuts and instead properly invest in the police and public services if it is serious about getting a grip on violent crime.  


The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “Every death on our streets is an utter tragedy, leaving families, friends and communities devastated.

“The level of knife crime across our country, including London, is simply unacceptable. We’re doing everything we can, in City Hall, to tackle this scourge.


“The figures released today show the true scale of Government cuts to police funding that have hit our city harder than anywhere else in the UK. I make no apologies for relentlessly pushing the government to understand that cuts have consequences and that our police service desperately need more funding right now.


“It speaks volumes that every London borough, regardless of political party, has come together for the first time for today’s summit in a bid to work together and tackle this issue head on. Together we must ensure standards are maintained in every borough as part of our collective approach to tackling violence, because the government continues to leave us high and dry by cutting public services and refusing to invest properly in our police service.”


Cllr Lib Peck, Deputy Chair of London Councils and Executive member for crime and public protection, said: “London boroughs are determined to improve the life chances of young people vulnerable to getting involved in violent crime, which is why we are participating in today's Summit.


“The framework we have agreed to support local partnerships in tackling violence, published today, will be an invaluable tool for our work with local communities and other important partners such as the police, schools, the Mayor and the NHS, and we will use it to build on our knife crime action plans.


“Only a sustained, collaborative effort across the capital, fully endorsed by central government, can hope to consistently reach London’s young people and give them the support they need to choose the positive future they deserve.”


As part of the Mayor’s London Needs You Alive campaign, Sadiq has today launched a toolkit for schools, community groups, faith groups and colleges, which includes a series of lesson plans, group activities, useful contacts and resources. The toolkit has been designed to support the positive messages within the #LNYA campaign and encourages young people to place a higher value on their life and not carry a knife. The toolkit will support them to re-connect with positive aspirations and self-identity. It will also allow audiences to amplify London Needs You Alive and other broader preventative responses to knife crime. The aim is for the messages within the #LNYA campaign to be owned and driven forward by influential local leaders, faith leaders, community members, young people and schools.


Knife crime campaigner Yvonne Lawson, of the Godwin Lawson Foundation, said: “We have all witnessed knife crime escalating this year leaving families and friends devastated and young people feeling unsafe in their communities. The Mayor of London endeavouring to reduce knife crime in the capital has been pivotal. Helping him launch London Needs You Alive Campaign has been significant to me as I sadly lost my son Godwin to knife crime in 2010.


“In the video young people were confidently articulating reasons not to carry a knife, which is inspiring to other young people.


“The toolkit is comprised of interactive, meaningful activities and resources easily available to all practitioners and parents planning knife crime awareness activities with their young people. For once we have a cohesive scheme and resources for all to freely access as an additional tool in pursuit of keeping young people safe.”

Notes to editors

  • Population stats are from official Office for National Statistics mid-year population estimates. Workforce data is taken from the Home Office Police Workforce England and Wales statistics. However, of note these currently run up to 2016 so for informative purposes GLA projection data for 2017 and MPS workforce data as a proxy estimation for 2018 is used.



  • The Mayor has invested an additional £110m in the Met in 2018-19 compared to the previous year in order to reduce the impact of the Government’s massive cuts to policing budgets. This includes £15m specifically to help tackle knife crime. This takes his investment in the Met to £138.8m since Sadiq became Mayor.


  • The Mayor has created the Young Londoners Fund  – a brand-new £45million fund for local communities and charities to help young people fulfil their potential particularly those who are at risk of getting caught up in crime.


  • Every single London borough now has a bespoke knife crime action plan created in partnership with the Met police.


  • Every school and college in London can now receive a knife wand, to help keep young people safe and prevent knife crime at school. 200 schools in London have taken up the Mayor's offer of a knife wand and the Deputy for Policing and Crime, Sophie Linden, wrote again to schools reminding them of how they can obtain a wand if they would like one.


  • In October, the Mayor hosted a Knife Crime Education Summit which brought together education providers, education leaders, Principals, Academy Trust Chairs, board members and Governmental bodies to better understand their needs and agree a plan of action to help tackle knife crime. As a result, Ofsted have agreed to deliver a thematic inspection on knife crime and safeguarding in London schools.


  • The Mayor is working to increase the number of Safer Schools Officers across the capital, to engage with pupils and drive down crime in schools.


  • The Mayor’s first anti-knife crime media campaign, ‘London Needs You Alive’, launched in November. The campaign brings together role models and social media youth ‘influencers’ to encourage young people away from carrying a knife, focusing on their talent and worth to the capital. With hundreds of thousands of social media followers between them, leading grime artist Yungen, MC Bossman Birdie, photographer Tom Sloan and urban poet Hussain Manawer are among those supporting it.


  • The Mayor confirmed he is investing £1.4m to continue to provide youth workers in Major Trauma Centres, and place more youth workers to hospital A&E departments, to help steer young Londoners who have been involved in knife crime away from violence in the future.


  • In November, MOPAC and the Met hosted a retailers’ workshop to discuss what more the business community can do to reduce knife crime. Attendees included representatives from Business Crime Reduction Partnerships, Business Improvement Districts, Trading Standards, Local Police, national retailers, independent retailers, the British Retail Consortium and British Independent Retailer Association.


  • MOPAC has created the Weapon Enabled Crime Dashboard which is publicly available. This will be one of a number of dashboards that the public and stakeholders can use access and interpret data on a number of types of crime.


  • The Mayor has dedicated £7m to projects to help tackle youth violence, including: Gang Exit (£500,000), Major Trauma Centres (£444,615), Information Sharing to Tackle Violence (£168,000), Victim Support Children & Young people (£360,861), and youth projects under the London Crime Prevention Fund (£5,295,717).


  • MOPAC and the Met continue work to collaborate and learn from other forces and partners on tackling knife crime and violence. Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime Sophie Linden and Met Commissioner Cressida Dick met Police Scotland in Glasgow in February.


  • Prevention is more effective than enforcement, but the fact remains that after years of Government underfunding and cuts, the Met police is significantly underfunded causing a huge drain on resources and officer numbers are falling. Time and again, we have called on the Government, who are responsible for more than 70 per cent of the Met police budget, to do the right thing and give our police the funds they need to keep us safe. But they have refused. We will continue to work tirelessly to help keep our young Londoners safe.


  • The Met is taking this issue incredibly seriously. As part of their work in tackling knife crime they are running targeted interventions, such as Operation Sceptre and Operation Winter Nights, to target offenders and take weapons off our streets.


  • This work also includes telling Londoners that they can expect to see an increase in the use of targeted, intelligence-led stop and search.


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