Police cuts threaten fight against crime

As your readers will know, Islington has seen record numbers of police officers recruited over the last 10 years as both crime and fear of crime have fallen across London.

Now this success is being threatened by the combined efforts of Mayor Johnson and the government’s cuts, as the Met loses police officers at the rate of 100 officers a month.

As the Met struggles to cope with the �100million cut from its budget, the figures speak for themselves: in March 2010 there were 33,318 Met officers. But in December 2010 the MPA forecast there would be 32,137 at March 31, 2011. A reduction of 1,181 officers across London.

Met deputy commissioner Tim Godwin has told the London Assembly that he is initially focussed on cutting costs through support functions, information technology, buildings and vehicles – to avoid the need for frontline cuts.

However, he also said that the Met hopes to cut its estates budget by a quarter by moving out of traditional police stations, which are costly to maintain.

People could instead access “front counter” high-street services while officers and custody suites would be based elsewhere.

Our local police service is already being threatened by the Mayor’s plan to reduce Safer Neighbourhood teams. London’s policing is now facing a very uncertain future.

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I will be keeping a stern eye on the Mayor’s progress and standing up for Islington’s vital police service in the face of these savage cuts. – Jennette Arnold AM, deputy chairwoman London Assembly, member for North East London, member of the EU Committee of the Regions, via e-mail.