Report of the Mayor (Supplementary) [12]

Session date: 
January 28, 2015
Question By: 
Andrew Dismore
Labour Group


Andrew Dismore AM:  Can you tell me how many police officers we have in Barnet and how many in Camden?



Supplementary To: 


Answer for Report of the Mayor (Supplementary) [12]

Answer for Report of the Mayor (Supplementary) [12]

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  I cannot tell you from the report I have in front of me.  What I can tell you is that there are more police officers on the streets in London than there were when I was elected, substantially more, and ‑‑


Andrew Dismore AM:  You have said all that.  The short answer is that you do not know.  Let me tell you ‑‑


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  I do know.


Andrew Dismore AM:  You do not know because you just said you do not.


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  I do know, but I cannot tell you now.  I can give you the figures.  If you want a breakdown of all the police officer numbers in the whole of London, I am personally happy to do it.


Andrew Dismore AM:  I will give you the figures, Mr Mayor.  I will tell you, Mr Mayor.  In Barnet, we have 548 police officers, 60 - or 10% - fewer than in 2010.  In Camden, we now have 671, 125 - or 15% - fewer than in 2010.


What makes it even worse, Mr Mayor, is the extent to which these officers are actually not on duty in the borough.  Over the last six months of last year, both boroughs lost officers for thousands of shifts.  In Barnet, the average was 98 shifts lost per week to officers working in other boroughs.  In Camden, 83 shifts per week were lost to officers working in other boroughs.  They are not on the streets of Barnet and Camden.  They are somewhere else altogether.


Do you think the numbers we have in Barnet and Camden are adequate for policing those boroughs?


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  You have more police on the streets ‑‑


Andrew Dismore AM:  It is a straightforward question.  Answer the question.


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  The answer is yes.


Andrew Dismore AM:  Yes?  All right.


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  Ask a sensible question, Dumbo.  Yes.


Roger Evans AM (Chairman):  We should address each other in a more civilised manner.


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  I am terribly sorry.  I was referring to the famous flying elephant.  I was referring in an affectionate way to my friend ‑‑


Roger Evans AM (Chairman):  Even so, I realise that both of you hope to go back to Parliament next year but there is no reason to bring that sort of bad behaviour down the river to the rest of us here.


Andrew Dismore AM:  Dear, dear.  I thought you had a tougher skin than that, Mr Mayor, when you --


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  I disagree.


Roger Evans AM (Chairman):  Mr Dismore, can you continue your question?


Andrew Dismore AM:  I will continue my question.


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  ‘Dumbo’ was meant in all gentleness and affection.


Andrew Dismore AM:  All right.  Perhaps I could refer to you as ‘Pinocchio’, then, in the same light.


Roger Evans AM (Chairman):  Perhaps not.


Andrew Dismore AM:  Mr Mayor, do you think Londoners would prefer to have an extra 30 officers in each of the boroughs or a one-pence-a-day Council Tax cut?


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  What Londoners want to see is continued reductions in crime in our city.  That is what they are getting.


Andrew Dismore AM:  I have asked you a question.  Answer the question, please.  Do you think Londoners would prefer to see ‑‑


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  What they want to see is cuts in Council Tax, which your party totally failed to deliver.  You endlessly put up Council Tax.  We have succeeded ‑‑


Andrew Dismore AM:  Would you please answer the question?  It is a straightforward question, Mr Mayor.


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  ‑‑ not just in cutting Council Tax in real terms but also in driving crime down.


Andrew Dismore AM:  Do you think Londoners really want to see a one-pence-a-day cut in their Council Tax, as opposed to 30 extra police officers in the borough or 1,000 across London?  Which is it?


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  What you are posing is an entirely false alternative.  What Londoners rightly want to see is both.  They want to see both and that is what we are delivering.  We are delivering cuts in Council Tax and substantial cuts in crime whilst getting more police out on the street.


Andrew Dismore AM:  Let us explore that, shall we?  You are proposing a one-pence-a-day cut in the Council Tax.  We are proposing, instead of a one-pence-a-day cut in the Council Tax, 1,000 extra officers or 30 per borough.  You say crime has gone down.  Let me tell you.  In Barnet, crime has gone down ‑‑


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  Good.


Andrew Dismore AM:  ‑‑ by 1% but ‑‑


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  Crime has gone down overall.


Andrew Dismore AM:  ‑‑ violent crime is up 34%.


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  Burglary ‑‑


Andrew Dismore AM:  Barnet now has the highest number of burglaries of any borough in London ‑‑


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  ‑‑ is down 34% this year.


Andrew Dismore AM:  ‑‑ but only 3% of burglaries result in a prosecution.  Do you think that is an adequate performance?  Do you think that is why Londoners would prefer to see more police officers rather than a penny-a-day cut?


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  Crime overall in Barnet, burglary included, is massively down.  The police in Barnet are doing a fantastic job.  I sometimes think it is regrettable that they are not better represented by their Assembly Member.  Frankly, you should pay tribute to the work of the police in Barnet.  I congratulate them on the success that they have had.  Most crime types are substantially down and that is very largely thanks to the work of the MPS.


Andrew Dismore AM:  I certainly pay tribute to the police officers in Barnet and Camden and I am representing them by saying there are not enough of them.  They want more to do the job better and you will not give them those officers.


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  This budget poses no such false alternative.


Andrew Dismore AM:  You prefer to cut Council Tax by a penny a day instead of giving those officers the support they need.  That is the point.


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  Blah, blah, blah.  This budget supplies, if I may ‑‑


Andrew Dismore AM:  It is a straight choice: a penny a day off your Council Tax or 1,000 more officers across London, 30 more per borough.


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  It is not.  We are able to deliver both.


Andrew Dismore AM:  That is the choice.  That is the choice that Londoners have and you are refusing to give them that choice.


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  The choice that the people of London have is to go with the failed old policies of the Labour Party or to go with a party that can actually deliver both cuts in Council Tax ‑‑


Andrew Dismore AM:  And cuts in police officers, like you have done ‑‑


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  ‑‑ and considerable reductions in crime and increases in the number of police officers on our streets in a way that no other city has seen.


Andrew Dismore AM:  ‑‑ cuts in police officers by 10% or 63 in Barnet and 125 in Camden.  You have cut the police in London and you are continuing to do so.


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  I would just remind you that the police numbers net of trainees when I came in were 30,656.  Net of trainees today, they are 31,434.  If you include trainees, they were when I was elected 31,395 and they are now 32,160.


You should pay tribute to the MPS, to MOPAC and to everybody who has worked to drive economies in our police service and get more police out on the street.  You should pay tribute in particular to the work of the police in Barnet and Camden.