Meeting London’s Current and Future Policing Needs (Supplementary) [7]

Session date: 
December 9, 2014
Question By: 
Andrew Dismore
Labour Group
Asked Of: 
Boris Johnson


A question for the Mayor, really.  I want to pick up from where Sir Bernard left off on the issue of abstractions.


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  Yes.


Andrew Dismore AM:  In February 2013, Sir Bernard told the Police and Crime Committee that he had set a target of no more than 5% of officers’ working time on abstractions, but in July of this year, total abstractions across London in terms of total of hours worked was 17%, more than three times the target.  What that translates to is quite serious.  In Barnet, for example, in the six months to September, on average we lost no fewer than 87 officers a month’s shifts, or 22 officers missing at least one shift a week from their normal work.  In Camden we were losing 25 officers for one shift per week over that six-month period.  The real problem is that we just simply do not have enough officers, compared to where we were in 2010.  In Barnet we are 65 fewer officer compared to May 2010, 110 fewer Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs), in Camden 214 officers fewer than in May 2010 and 79 PCSOs less.  The fact is we abstractions because you have not got enough officers to go around, have you not?


Answer for Meeting London’s Current and Future Policing Needs (Supplementary) [7]

Answer for Meeting London’s Current and Future Policing Needs (Supplementary) [7]

Answered By: 
Boris Johnson

):  Look, Andrew, I share your concern about abstractions and I think that the figure of 17%, if that is one that we can stack up there, that does sound unacceptable.  I certainly agree with that and I know it is a big concern to borough commanders across London, and I know it is a big concern to the Commissioner.  It is a reflection of the central role of the MPS in the policing of this country.  If you want to hold a big summit in Cardiff, or whatever, then there is going to be MPS police involved.  The MPS is absolutely integral to policing in this country.  It, in my view, strengthens the argument that we should be asking for proper support for the MPS and for keeping police numbers high in London.


I repeat my central point.  I hear what Sir Bernard says about not making a fetish of one number or another but you have to go for some sort of target and that is why we have gone for at or around 32,000 and that is what I believe in.  The result of that, sticking with a policy of keeping the numbers high has been that we are able to get police out into the neighbourhoods in the way that we have done, and that is showing up in the reductions in neighbourhood crime.


Andrew Dismore AM:  Right.  The point about it is it means that the numbers that you put out as the numbers of officers on the boroughs are not accurate because they are being taken away.