Local Policing Model

MQT on 2014-03-19
Session date: 
March 19, 2014
Question By: 
Len Duvall OBE
Labour Group
Asked Of: 
The Mayor



Answer for Local Policing Model

Answer for Local Policing Model

Answered By: 
The Mayor

The Local Policing Model, Len and John [Biggs], is not yet a year old.  I think the significant thing about it for me is that it helps us to fulfil the pledge that I made about 2,600 more police in neighbourhoods and of them 2,336, I think, have already been deployed.  There may be changes that we could make, we will evaluate proposals and suggestions, but at the moment the Local Policing Model is having a great deal of success in helping to bring down crimes.


John Biggs AM:  History will record you as a man who redefined the word ‘affordable’ and you have also redefined the word ‘neighbourhood’ because it is pretty clear to us that neighbourhood policing, to our constituents, and this comes from Conservative Members as well, has effectively been abolished.  Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC), which is a statutory body whose reports you almost certainly do not read either, has highlighted that London now has the third least visible police service.


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  London?


John Biggs AM:  The third least visible policing service, according to surveys, in England and Wales.  Are you anxious about that?


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  The poll I saw suggests that people think that the police in their neighbourhoods has increased, and obviously that is very much a question of perceptions.  The Public Attitude Survey shows that there has been an increase of people who say they have seen police on patrol at least once a week.


John Biggs AM:  That is not what I hear, and that is not what your Conservative helpers hear as well in their constituencies.  They go on about little else actually, about the lack of conspicuous policing.  They will all be looking at the floor at the moment.  They do not feel supportive of you on this issue.


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  I do not think they are listening to you, John.


John Biggs AM:  I will give you a quote then.  A quote which is, “The police service is in danger of retreating to a discredited model of reactive policing” this is your new Local Policing Model, “Neighbourhood policing that is responsive to the concerns of local communities is being threatened”.  I think that is the case, that is the anecdotal evidence and that is the evidence from the polling, or from surveys by HMIC, who are not a bunch of dodgy politicians like you and I.


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  No, I understand.


John Biggs AM:  The question is, are you at all anxious that by redefining ‘neighbourhood’ so it is no longer a neighbourhood, you can still maintain this myth that people are getting more police on their patch?


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  They are.  All the time I have sat here with you I was not wedded to a strict geometrical model of the Safer Neighbourhoods Team (SNT).  We had this conversation for a long time.  They did not have always to be one sergeant, two police constables (PCs), three police support community officers (PCSOs) in every single ward.  That was clearly going to be unnecessary in some wards and in other wards you would want more.  I think that would be common ground between us.


John Biggs AM:  The evidence is it is most wards where this is happening.


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  What we are guaranteeing is that there will be a complement of a minimum of one PC and one PCSO per ward and they will be there 95% of the time.  That is what the Local Policing Model guarantees.


I do think it is important to give borough commanders flexibility to try to deal with the crime problem as they see it and as they must manage it in their neighbourhood.  What they are achieving is, across all crime types, to bring those crimes down.


Yes, obviously it may be that local people will want to make representations about how certain SNTs need to be beefed up or need to be seen, need to be more visible, and we can certainly work on that.


John Biggs AM:  Are you anxious about reassurance and public confidence in policing?


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  I am.


John Biggs AM:  I assume you are, because you are an elected representative and you want people to be confident in their policing.


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  I do.


John Biggs AM:  If the evidence suggests that they are feeling less confident then you should be anxious about that.


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  Let us go to the evidence.  The evidence is --


John Biggs AM:  One of the consequences of your change to the Local Policing Model is a two-thirds decrease in PCSOs in boroughs in London, so two out of three have just disappeared, they are no longer there.  You talk about extra police officers but we are now 3,062, one in ten police officers fewer than when Mr Cameron [Prime Minister] was elected.  If we were to define categories of crime there is a reckless negligence crime there, if you ask me.

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  Clearly I think most people, what they really care about is lower crime on their street and it is happening in London.


John Biggs AM:  Yes, OK.


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  Those crimes are coming down across the board and they are coming down partly because we have been able to cut pointless expense on other areas and put an extra 2,336 police into the SNTs.  Yes, there has been a reduction in the number of PCSOs but there are still more than 2,000 PCSOs across London, but I think most people given the choice of putting a police constable with full powers of arrest and intervention, would rather have a police constable than a PCSO.  That is in no way to deprecate the work of the PCSOs and they will continue to be very, very valuable.  I think getting 2,336 police into the SNTs as we have done, and there are more to come, is the right way.


You talk about confidence, by the way, you said should I care about confidence because I have a responsibility.  Yes of course I do.  We set the target for the Metropolitan Police Service to increase public confidence in policing by 20% and in spite of all the stuff that has been in the papers over the last few months public confidence in policing is rising and it is rising because people are looking at what is happening in their neighbourhoods.


I am not going to pretend to you, John, that everything is perfect.  I began my answer by saying that if there are ways we can improve the Local Policing Model to be more sensitive in getting the resources we have to the place where they are needed, of course we are going to do that.  I think at the moment the results show that we are on the right track.