The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, today called on the Chancellor to reverse years of underfunding and use the autumn Budget to make sure the police and security services have the resources they need to keep the public safe.
Speaking to London Assembly’s Police and Crime Committee just five days after the Parsons Green terror attack, Sadiq Khan made it clear that if the Treasury continues with its policy of real-terms cuts to police funding, officer numbers will fall dangerously low and Londoners’ safety will be put at risk.
Police force budgets have been reduced in real terms by the Treasury every year since 2010, completely failing to take into account the increasing demand or inflationary pressure on policing. In London, the scale of this police funding crisis has already led to the loss of almost 3,000 police community support officers, most of the capital’s police station front counters and 120 police buildings in order to protect frontline police officers. Officer numbers are now at risk of falling below 30,000 for the first time since 2003, just as they are needed most.
Inflation has risen to 2.9 per cent and staff pay, pensions, and utilities continue to cost more every year. Crime is increasing, in volume, complexity and harm. London’s population is forecast to reach a record 10 million by 2030, and terrorism remains a constant and evolving threat, with five attacks across the country, four of them in the capital, in the last few months alone.
In the wake of the Parsons Green attack, the Home Secretary announced an additional £24 million for Counter Terrorism operations across the country. However, for every pound of Counter Terrorism spend in response to an incident, an additional £2 is spent on necessary additional non-Counter Terrorism activity, which has to come from wider policing budgets. The Mayor is clear that wider policing, not just counter terror, must be properly funded in the years to come, and that neighbourhood police officers in our communities are the eyes and ears of the security services when it comes to stopping terrorist attacks.