Tower Hamlets Mayor John Biggs said he is concerned about whether London’s police can cope with £800m of further budget cuts without a significant impact on frontline services
Mayor Biggs, who is also the member for City and East on the London Assembly, made the comments after Metropolitan Police commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe denied suggestions budget cuts could stop the force investigating low level crimes such as burglaries.
Mayor Biggs warned officers were already struggling to deal with some crimes. According to Biggs, since 2010, when the Met’s budget was cut by £600m, the percentage of domestic burglaries in London solved by the police has halved from 12% in 2010/11 to just 6% in 2014/15.
In Tower Hamlets, 94% of the 2,457 domestic and non-domestic burglaries reported in the borough over the last 12 months have gone unsolved according to the latest annual figures from the Metropolitan Police.
Since 2010 the Metropolitan police force has cut £600m from its budget and is expected to face a further £800m cut in the Government’s autumn spending review.
Mayor Biggs said: “The fact that 94% of burglaries are going unsolved in Tower Hamlets shows that London’s police service is already being stretched to the limit. With the Met’s plans to cut all PCSOs likely to undermine vital links with communities, the police simply won’t have the local intelligence needed to drive down burglaries.
“While there is definitely a debate to be had about the role of the police in the 21st century, we cannot pretend that the Government’s cuts are not already having a profound and damaging effect on frontline policing.
“With another £800m of cuts coming down the tracks, the Mayor looks set to leave London with a far thinner blue line than when he came to power in 2008. That should be a worry to all of us, particularly given the Commissioner has said this scale of cut means the Met is going to struggle to provide the service Londoners are used to.”
While the commissioner pledged the Met would continue to investigate burglaries he has admitted that there would have to be “a compromise somewhere” saying “we are going to struggle to do everything we used to do”. Even the Mayor of London recently admitted that “you cannot have a city growing as fast as London, with the challenges London faces, without putting more money into the MPS.”
Earlier this month it was reported that the Metropolitan Police are planning to cut all PCSOs.