London desperately needs 600 more police officers based in local communities to get under the skin of the capital’s crime issues, according to London’s boroughs.
London Councils, the cross-party membership group representing the 32 London boroughs and the City of London Corporation, is calling on Government and the Metropolitan Police to invest in local neighbourhood policing, which plays a vital role in tackling crime.
The new Government has made a welcome commitment to recruiting 20,000 new police officers nationally. London Councils supports the Metropolitan Police Commissioner’s view that the capital should get its fair share of new recruits – around 5,000 to 6,000 officers, funded on a long-term basis to reflect higher costs in the capital. However, the boroughs are determined to ensure that around 600 of these are community police officers.
‘Bobbies on the beat’, as they are informally known, are the eyes and ears of the police on the ground, building trust and confidence between officers and communities. This results in better understanding of local concerns and higher-quality intelligence gathering. Increasing the visibility of police on the streets is also an effective deterrent and improves public perception of safety.
There are just over 600 policing wards in London, each of which currently has two dedicated Police Constables (PCs) and one Police Community Support Officer (PCSO). London Councils’ proposals would add the equivalent of an extra PC to each policing ward in the capital.
Cllr Peter John OBE, Chair of London Councils, said:
“We know Londoners want more police officers on the streets of the capital keeping them safe. While specialist units tackling violent crime, domestic abuse and drug dealing are vital, it’s equally important that London’s share of new policing recruits includes ‘bobbies on the beat’.
“London boroughs work closely with our busy local policing teams. They provide visible reassurance, address low-level crime before it takes root and gather crucial information, but they are also hugely stretched.
“To create safer, more resilient communities, investing in 600 new ‘bobbies on the beat’ must be a top priority for London.”