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The Labour Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, and the Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, have urged the Conservative Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond to use the Budget on November 22 to end the real-terms cuts to policing budgets since 2010.
They wrote in a letter to Mr Hammond: “As the Mayors of London and Greater Manchester, we are extremely worried that the police’s ability to keep our cities safe, and to prevent and respond to the risk of future terrorist attacks, is being put in jeopardy by the current funding crisis facing forces across England and Wales. As you know, counter-terrorism experts are warning that the increase in attacks and attempted attacks this year is not a blip, but a sustained rise. And this is against the backdrop of crime rising across the country and violent crime rising even faster … To put it bluntly, if you continue with real-terms cuts you will be putting at risk the safety of those who live, work and visit our cities without an end to the years of real-term cuts.
“We implore you to use the Budget to ensure the continued safety of the people who live and work in our great cities and the millions of visitors we receive each year. We need a real-terms increase in police funding, ensuring that the national and international work that the police in our cities do on behalf of the rest of the country is properly funded.”
In London, the Mayors point out, the Met Police has had to make £600m of cuts since 2010, and must find a further £400 million of savings by 2021. This has already led to the loss of 30 per cent of police staff posts – from 14,330 to 9,985, and 65 per cent of police community support officers posts – from 4,607 to 1,591, plus most of the capital’s police station front counters and 120 police buildings. And Greater Manchester Police have faced cuts of £215m since 2010, which has resulted in the loss of 2,000 police officers, a 25 per cent reduction on 2010 levels, and 1,000 police staff.
However in a recent speech to the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) and Association of Police and Crime Commissioners (APCC) annual summit, the Home Secretary Amber Rudd said that ‘part of being a Police and Crime Commissioner is about speaking to the government about resourcing. But it mustn’t just be about lobbying the government for money’.
She said: “It [being a PCC] needs to be about cutting crime, delivering on the priorities you were elected on and being held to account by local people in your area when you don’t. So when crime statistics go up, I don’t just want to see you reaching for a pen to write a press release asking for more money from the government. I want you to tell your local communities and the victims in your area what your plan is to make them safer.”
She also said: “We appreciate that the increase in complex, investigatory work has put pressure on forces, as well as the efforts to deal with the unprecedented wave of terrorist attacks we’ve sadly seen this year. But police financial reserves now amount to more than £1.6 billion and the independent inspectorate remains clear that there is more forces can do to transform, with greater efficiencies still available.”