Deputy Mayor of London for Policing defends police numbers in Islington

Boris Johnson’s right hand man has hit out at Labour-controlled Islington Council for what he described as “scare-mongering” over police numbers.

Kit Malthouse, Conservative Deputy Mayor for Policing, claimed the number of full-time officers and Special Constables serving in the borough has increased.

Labour councillors criticised plans to make eight of Islington’s 16 Safer Neighbourhood Teams share a sergeant.

They say figures from the Metropolitan Police Service which reveal the borough has lost 75 warranted officers since May 2010 show tackling crime is not a priority.

Responding to the claims, Mr Malthouse said: “My least favourite thing about politics is scare-mongering and I’m afraid there has been a lot of that recently in regards to the number of police on our streets.

“In Islington some residents are being led to believe that police numbers are being slashed but in reality nothing could be further from the truth.

“In September 2008 Islington had 655 police officers and it now has 687 full time police officers working to keep people safe. The number of Special Constables has risen from 75 to 151 in the same period following a recruitment drive funded by the Mayor.

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“Boris and I are clear that the challenges London faces means we need to keep police numbers up.

“Last year the Mayor pumped an extra �42 million into the policing budget to achieve this.

“We are making some minor changes to the arrangement of sergeants in SNTs to improve co-ordination and achieve more consistent crime fighting but the Met is one of the few police forces in the UK still recruiting.”

He continued: “Over the 41 months since Boris was elected crime is Islington is down more than 16 per cent, robbery is down 23 per cent and burglary down nearly 30 per cent.

“That is not to say we have cracked the problem, far from it. But the fight against crime is our number one priority.”