Step Change and Public Expectations (Supplementary) [18]

Session date: 
December 10, 2003
Question By: 
Richard Barnes
GLA Conservatives
Asked Of: 
Toby Harris


I think there is cross-party support for community policing and getting police out onto the streets of London, and indeed making London a safer place. But I wonder if there is Governmental support for it. There is a lot of hot air and words spoken by this Government about policing in London, but if London was funded at the same level as it was in 1996/97 the Government grant would be some £240 million more than it is now; indeed £54 million is being held back this year.

Lord Harris, you know that the Mayor is certainly pressing very hard for community-based policing, and it is part of his political agenda, shall we say, or his manifesto for next year. How is he going to pay for it? You and I know you have private meetings with him. How are you going to propose to the MPA and indeed to London that this is paid for, given that the Police Authority has to make tens of millions of pounds' worth of cuts next year, and the cost of Step Change will be £26 million next year and £356 million the year after? We cannot have boom and bust policing in London. How are you going to propose that it be funded?


Answer for Step Change and Public Expectations (Supplementary) [18]

Answer for Step Change and Public Expectations (Supplementary) [18]

Answered By: 
Toby Harris

Well I look forward to your support in not having boom and bust policing and that for the first time ever the Conservatives in this Authority will vote in support of policing for London when the budget discussions come forward. That will be the first time ever.

Firstly, can I pick up some of the points you made in that long preamble? You suggested that clearly had resources been rolled forward from 1996 then there would have been a substantial increase. Well, that is the case. Of course, the then Conservative Government, indeed I think Michael Howard was the Home Secretary, introduced a formula which took resources away from London. It is a Labour Government which has reversed that formula and introduced a formula which would give resources to London. That is precisely why when I saw the Home Secretary last week I expressed my substantial concern " I expressed it in my normal low-key fashion " about the implications of this and how unfortunate it was.

I also discussed the Step Change programme with the Home Secretary and I know that the Government supports the work that is being done on local reassurance. That is why the pilots that are currently in place in London have been funded directly by central Government: £6.2 million nationally for the reassurance pilots, and four of those are in the MPS area in the boroughs of Enfield, Merton, Kensington and Chelsea, and Bromley.