Mayor's £60m investment to reduce impact of Government police cuts
- Sadiq takes unusual step of using income raised from business rates in London to support Metropolitan Police
- Funding will support an extra 1,000 police officers than would otherwise be affordable from 2019-20
- Sadiq warns that despite extra investment, the Met will still be ‘severely stretched’ and savings are still needed
- Mayor calls on the Government to tackle national rise in recorded violent crime by boosting funding for police forces and preventative services
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has today announced that he is investing approximately £60m of additional resources in the Metropolitan Police this year, and in future years, in order to reduce the impact of the Government’s massive cuts to policing budgets.
This new annual funding – which will be diverted away from non-policing initiatives in London - will be used from 2019-20 to make it possible to support an extra 1,000 police officers than would otherwise be affordable.
Since 2010-11, the Met’s general grant funding from the Government has fallen by more than £700 million, or nearly 40 per cent in real terms, on a like-for-like basis. In recent years, the Met Police have had to find more than £600m of savings. This has led to the loss of a third of police staff posts – down from 14,330 to 9,985, two-thirds of police community support officer posts – down from 4,607 to 1,591, as well as 114 police station front counters and 120 police buildings.
Recorded crime is rising across the country – in particular the most violent crimes. It has become a major national problem, but the Government is refusing to act.
Sadiq has repeatedly warned that with further savings needed, the Met is running out of options and that police officer numbers in the capital could fall significantly below 30,000 before 2021 – a dangerous low which presents a serious risk to the safety of Londoners.
The Mayor will do all he can to avoid this happening. So from 2019-20, Sadiq will invest an additional £59m annually to support an extra 1,000 police officers than would otherwise be affordable by using income raised from business rates. This will help avoid falling officer numbers at this crucial time. But as funding pressures mount officer numbers are still expected to fall below 30,000 in 2021.
This is money that would ordinarily be spent on supporting non-police services, such as transport and economic development. The Mayor has decided that keeping Londoners as safe as possible must come first. So with the Government still refusing to act in the face of recorded violent crime increasing across the country, he is taking the unusual step of channelling substantial funding from business rates to the Met.
In the next 12 months, he will invest an additional £55m in the Metropolitan Police so they do not have to borrow the amount previously planned for investing in police buildings and new technology. He will also invest £5m to fund the first extra officers as the Met’s recruitment drive starts.
As a result of not needing to borrow this money, the Met will also save £3.3m of capital financing costs from April 2019. This will be spent on mental health funding. Furthermore additional funding has been made available from April for the campaigns to reduce violence against women and girls and female genital mutilation and funding for a new Countering Violent Extremism programme.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said:
“The Government is failing in its primary duty to ensure the safety and security of the public.
“Following massive government cuts to police forces and preventative services over the course of nearly eight years, crime is rising across the country, particularly violent crime such as knife crime and robbery.
“I’m not willing to stand by when it’s the safety of Londoners being put at risk. So I’ve taken the decision to allocate the Met funding using money collected from business rates that would usually be spent on other important projects in London.
“This is a significant boost in funding, which will mean we’ll be able to support an additional 1,000 police officers from 2019-20 than would otherwise be affordable. But I want to be clear: this alone will not reverse the rise in crime we are seeing in London and across the country. It will merely enable us to keep our heads above water for the next two years. The Met will still be severely stretched, government funding remains inadequate, savings and transformation are still needed and officer numbers are expected to fall after 2019-20.
“We are facing an unprecedented, sustained threat from terrorism, a growing population, and the consequences of years of government cuts to preventative services, such as youth centres and community services.
“In order to truly tackle the rise in crime, the Government needs to urgently invest in our police forces so that we can significantly boost, rather than just maintain in the short term, police officer numbers and restore funding for the services that provide alternative paths away from crime, such as youth services.”
The extra funding from business rates and the Mayor’s proposed council tax increase will still not meet the pressures of London’s rising population, increases in crime both in the capital and across the country, the dramatic shift in the threat of further terrorist attacks, the additional pressure of the Grenfell fire investigation, or justified pay rises for the police, which were decided by the Home Secretary without providing the funds.
The Mayor is doing everything he can to tackle the rise in crime, by restoring real neighbourhood policing and prioritising the most vulnerable Londoners, especially victims of violence and sexual offences. He has launched a tough and comprehensive knife crime strategy. Local priorities now target local need, and every single local neighbourhood ward now has at least two dedicated local ward officers.
Last year, to protect police on the frontline, Sadiq was forced to close 38 police station front counters in order to save £8m a year – equivalent to the cost of 140 police constables. When he increased the policing element of council tax in 2017-18, he raised an additional £25.3m for the Met.
Notes to editors
Yesterday, the Mayor announced that he is creating a brand new £45million fund to help young Londoners – particularly those who are at risk of getting caught up in crime. Sadiq’s new Young Londoners Fund will see £15m invested in each of the next three years, beginning from April. Of the total new funding, £10million a year will make up a new fund into which local communities, charities and schools will be able to bid for funds, and £5million a year will be invested to scale up existing projects funded from City Hall that are already supporting young Londoners.
Following today’s announcement, the savings gap in the medium term financial plan remains at £325m for 2021/22. This additional funding from the mayor is not intended to substitute for the funding that government should provide.
The MPS budget includes major capital investment in transformation programmes to support productivity in the MPS in future, but many of these are still at an early stage of implementation and the productivity gains are not yet proven; their impact on the workforce and savings gap will be assessed each year through the budget process.
Given the long lead in times for police officer recruitment, the first additional officers will not be available until towards the end of 2018/19, and therefore £5m is sufficient funds to initiate a campaign and subsequent selection processes. The Met is already focused on streamlining the recruitment processes wherever possible whilst ensuring the selection process remains robust.
Sadiq has already announced plans to increase his share of council tax by 5.1 per cent or an average of £14.21 a year. This will provide the Metropolitan Police with an additional £49m in 2018-19 to be spent on combatting knife crime, a two per cent police pay increase and boosting officer numbers. These changes will proceed in addition to today's announcement.