Real neighbourhood policing at centre of Mayor’s plan for safer London
- New strategy for a safer city for all Londoners, no matter who you are or where you live, with extra Dedicated Ward Officers in all of London’s 629 local neighbourhood wards
- Extra protection and support for the most vulnerable people and places
- New strategy comes at most challenging time in Met’s recent history
The Mayor of London today (Monday 20th March) launched his new Police and Crime Plan for the capital. It aims to restore real neighbourhood policing, create a safer city for everyone in London and commits to protecting the most vulnerable Londoners at the most challenging time in the Met’s recent history.
Sadiq Khan’s four-year strategy promises extra protection and support for children and young people, in tackling violence against women and girls and in standing together against hatred and intolerance.
The Mayor’s Police and Crime Plan commits to tackling a postcode lottery in public safety that means some people and places are more vulnerable to and fearful of crime than others. He will ensure the police focus on tackling problems of most pressing local concern - while maintaining a consistently high standard of service for all Londoners.
The Plan comes at the most challenging time in the Met’s recent history when, as the Mayor has been warning, the Government’s continued refusal to fully fund London’s police service, and the threat of further cuts, is putting a severe strain on policing in the capital. If there is no change, all options will have to be considered to help keep Londoners safe, including reducing the officer wage bill.
Today the Mayor, the Acting Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Service, Craig Mackey, and police Safer Schools Officers joined pupils and teachers in a special assembly at City Heights Academy in Lambeth. There they discussed the important work that the Met police do to prevent children and young people from becoming victims or perpetrators of crime, and their views on crime and safety from knife crime to online abuse.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “The safety of all Londoners is my first priority, and our city is one of the safest in the world thanks to the hard work and dedication of our police officers. But I want and need it to be even safer. I want every Londoner, regardless of age or background, to have trust and confidence in their local officers and feel that their local concerns are being met, whoever they are and wherever they live.
“This Plan restores real neighbourhood policing and puts victims of crime and the most vulnerable Londoners at the heart of what we do. It also sets out our ambitions as we work with the Government to agree a criminal justice devolution deal which will allow us to finally get to grips with tackling the enormous problem of reoffending and ensuring that victims of crime get the support – and the justice – they deserve.
“It is a Plan that is frank about the challenges we’re going to face over the next few years. Crime is rising again, our population is booming, and our already tight budgets are in danger of further, potentially devastating Government cuts. As we deliver this strategy over the coming years, I will continue to fight tooth and nail to protect our vital police services and make sure they have the funding they need to keep us safe now and in the future.”
Over the last four years the Met has had to save £600m, with the loss of 2,800 PCSOs and staff and 120 police stations and other buildings. A further £400m must be saved over the next four years, which could rise to hundreds of millions of pounds more through a Government review of how police funding nationally is divided between forces. In addition the Met is underfunded by around £172m a year for its work to police London as a major global capital and the seat of Government. This includes diplomatic protection, and policing major events such as protests, concerts, football matches and state visits such as the upcoming visit of the President of the United States of America.
This year, the Mayor has provided an additional £27m in his budget to help the Met to make ends meet. But with limited and declining resources, the delivery of policing and safety in London over the years ahead has needed very careful thought, in very close collaboration with communities, and partner organisations on its development. Most importantly, the Mayor wanted to ensure that his strategy tackles the things that matter most to Londoners, and this includes his strategic ambition of 32,000 police officers across London. But if the Government does not take steps to fund the police properly in the years ahead, the Met will have no option but to seek further savings which may impact the frontline.
Core elements of the Mayor’s new Police and Crime Plan include:
A better Police Service for London
· A return to real neighbourhood policing and an extra dedicated constable – who knows and is known by the community - in every London ward in place by the end of 2017, with more in wards with the most serious problems. The stronger local teams will provide greater visibility, contact and reassurance in communities, and will work with councils and other partners to tackle the crime and antisocial behaviour problems of greatest concern to residents.
· Setting local policing priorities unique to each Borough, in consultation with local police and elected council leaders, and based on the latest local crime data. All 32 London Boroughs have agreed new priorities for the year ahead. These priorities will be reviewed annually to ensure they represent the key issues in communities.
· Additional measures, for tackling the most harmful and complex types of crime – such as domestic abuse, child sexual exploitation and rape. These crimes need specialist police officers able to identify and protect the most vulnerable people, with the skills to investigate complex offences and to support victims.
· More specialist firearms officers to protect London from terror attack, improved training and partnership work to tackle cyber-crime and joint work with police forces nationally and internationally to crack down on the organised crime that causes so much damage in society through the supply of drugs and weapons and the trafficking of people.
· Working with the Met and communities to improve public access to policing services.
A better Criminal Justice Service for London
· Putting victims at the heart of policing, with an independent Victims' Commissioner in place within months to champion the interests of victims of crime and drive improvements in services.
· The Chancellor has agreed to finalise a devolution deal on criminal justice services by June. The deal will look at working and co-commissioning of services between the Government and the Mayor – with the aim of improving services for victims and offenders in London. This will give the Mayor far greater power to ensure services are tailored to the needs of the capital, helping to cut reoffending and make London a safer place for everyone.
· Working with Government to finalise the devolution of powers over London’s justice system to City Hall, with a Memorandum of Understanding to be agreed in June. Devolution will help provide a more targeted, effective and efficient service, with proper support for victims and tackling the enormous problem of reoffending, which costs London £2.2bn per year in justice costs alone.
Keeping children and young people safe
· Dedicating more officers to working with London schools to help protect our children.
· A new Knife Crime Strategy for London to prevent knife crime, intervene with those at risk of victimisation and offending, and to enforce the law robustly against those who carry knives or sell them to children.
· Commissioning two Child Houses – combining services involved in investigating child sexual exploitation and supporting victims in one place, removing the trauma of having to give statements multiple times and improving the chances of convicting perpetrators.
· Overhauling child protection across the capital with the help of national experts.
Tackling Violence Against Women and Girls
· Refreshing the London Violence Against Women and Girls Strategy.
· Improving training for police officers on the handling of cases of sexual and domestic abuse.
· Sustaining investment in rape crisis services, Independent Sexual Violence Advisors and Independent Domestic Violence Advocates in London.
· Continuing to provide funding for projects and services to support male victims of rape, sexual violence and domestic abuse, including those in same-sex relationships
Standing together against hatred, intolerance and extremism
· Launching an online hate crime hub to provide a dedicated response to web based hate crimes and supporting provision of specialist Hate Crime Victims’ Advocates across the city.
· Working with the Government, police and partners to step up efforts to counter radicalisation.
The Mayor’s new Police and Crime Plan follows an extensive consultation and engagement process, including a survey of 8,000 Londoners, meetings with a wide range of partner agencies and community groups, and a formal consultation on a draft Police and Crime Plan, which generated over 500 survey responses and 200 written responses.
Sophie Linden, Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime, said: “I want to thank everyone who took the time to have their say during the consultation and help us develop this Plan. We’ve been able to identify the top priorities for making our city safer and agree a Plan of action that enables the police, including our local policing teams, the justice service and all of our partners to work together to make the biggest difference we can with the resources we have.”
Metropolitan Police Service Acting Commissioner Craig Mackey said: "The Mayor's Police and Crime Plan sets some tough challenges to meet the ever changing nature of a major capital city. We welcome the ambition set out in the plan and look forward to delivering what we can with partners across London. To achieve this, at a time when we continue to have to make major financial savings, the Met will need to change the way it recruits, operates, and evolves. We have an ambitious transformation programme which is already underway and that will deliver a 21st century police service for London, strengthening local policing, making us more diverse, more efficient, and in short - the best police service possible for the next four years."
City Heights Headteacher Jim Henderson said: “At City Heights E-ACT Academy we pride ourselves on the important role our students and staff play in the local community. Through our partnership with our schools officer, not only do our families tell us that they feel their children are safe in the community, but our students trust the police to help them feel safe in their local community too. By building strong and positive relationships with our students our schools officer has complemented the work we do here at the academy in educating our young people on the crucial role they play as ambassadors for their community.”
Notes to editors
- The Mayor’s Police and Crime Plan is published here www.london.gov.uk/MOPAC
- Throughout the consultation the Mayor, the Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime and MOPAC engaged with the Met, stakeholders, partners, central Government and the community to better understand views on the priorities laid out in the plan.
- The Mayor will end the inflexible ‘MOPAC 7’ neighbourhood crime targets which formed the basis of the previous Mayor’s police and crime plan. He aimed to reduce crimes by at least 20 per cent in seven key categories: burglary; vandalism/criminal damage; theft from motor vehicles; theft of motor vehicles; violence with injury, robbery; and theft from the person.
- The pressure on Met funding:
- £1bn of savings since 2010
- Over the past six years the government has systematically cut police budgets in London, and the Met has already had to find £600m of savings since 2010. To date, these have led to the loss of 2,800 police staff, including hundreds of Police Community Support Officers, and the closure of dozens of police stations.
- A further £400m savings are to be found over the next few years and the Mayor has asked the Met to go even further in restructuring and reducing back office costs to make efficiency savings.
- In addition, the Met is significantly underfunded for work to police London as a major global capital and the seat of Government. The Met spends some £346m a year this work, which includes diplomatic protection, and policing major events such as protests, concerts, football matches and state visits such as the upcoming visit of the President of the United States of America. The Home Office should reimburse Londoners for this work through the National and International Capital Cities Grant (NICC), but currently underfunds London by around £172m a year. When the Home Office’s own expert panel reviewed the figures it suggested the Met should receive £281m a year. So, on either calculation, the Met is significantly short-changed.
- Funding Formula
- The Met could also stand to lose millions from its annual budget when, later this year, the Home Office changes the police funding formula which allocates resources to forces across the country. Last time the formula was reviewed, in Autumn 2015, the Met stood to lose between £184m and £700m.