The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has today announced his intention to invest a further £30 million – bringing his investment in policing to £1.08 billion – to ensure that more than a thousand Met police officers funded by City Hall will continue to patrol the streets of the capital for the next four years.
With Sadiq’s funding over the last three years alone, the Met have been able to recruit an additional 1,300 police officers to tackle crime – 300 of which will continue to be funded by Sadiq’s decisions on a recurring basis.
Today, the Mayor proposes to invest a further new £30m annual cash injection to protect 1,000 of those officers who were put at risk by the impact of Covid-19 on business rates income – ensuring they will continue to be funded from City Hall to police our city for the next four years.
On top of this, Sadiq proposes to invest a further £8m of new council tax funding in additional violence prevention programmes – as part of a package that is both tough on crime and tough on the causes of crime.
To be delivered through London’s Violence Reduction Unit (VRU) and the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC), the new prevention investment will fund a range of projects to reduce violence, such as expanding GPS tagging of violent offenders after prison release and extending the funding for youth work services for young victims of violence seen in London’s Major Trauma Centres and A&Es.
Sadiq will also announce today an investment of £550,000 from existing MOPAC budgets towards improving tackling harm that drugs cause – which will help to address a key driver of crime.
The additional funding for police officers and targeted prevention programmes to tackle violence is possible because of prudent planning and the higher levels of council tax receipts from local authorities than originally forecast, which the Mayor is proposing to invest in policing ahead of publishing his final Budget for the Greater London Authority Group for 2021-22.
Sadiq stepped in to begin investing in 1,300 additional police officers on London’s streets at a time when the Government’s cuts led to the Met dropping to below 30,000 officers for the first time in 15 years. His support for the Met helped lift officer numbers back over 30,000, and following repeated calls by the Mayor, the Prime Minister finally acknowledged austerity cuts had gone too far and the Government has now begun funding 20,000 new police officers across the country. (Although more than 21,000 have been cut since 2010)
The Mayor’s top priority has always been to keep Londoners safe and violent crime in the capital started to fall before the pandemic – including knife crime, violence with injury (under-25), moped-enabled crime and homicides – and has continued to do so. However, Sadiq believes there is still much more to do.
Since he became Mayor in May 2016, Sadiq has invested £1.08 billion in the Met Police – more than any other Mayor of London – which includes diverting both council tax and business rates receipts to policing for the first time from City Hall.
The Government continues to underfund the Met for policing the capital, which includes providing diplomatic protection, as well as policing major events, protests, football matches and international state visits. The Met spends £346m on a year on this work, but the Government only funds £185m. While Sadiq has invested record amounts in the Met and used City Hall funds to help meet the cost of COVID-19, the Government continues to refuse to fully refund the Met for the costs incurred in supporting the capital during the Covid-19 pandemic. Overall, some £21m of Covid costs remain unfunded in this financial year.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan said, “Violent crime had been increasing across the country and in London since 2014, while serious youth violence had been going up since 2013.
“We’ve worked hard to tackle violence in our city, and it started to fall well before the pandemic hit and has continued to do so. But I am not content or complacent, we still have a long way to go.
“If we are to see the long-term reductions in violence that we all want to see in our city, we must continue to tackle the underlying causes of crime, such as poverty, deprivation and lack of opportunities for young Londoners.
“I’m doing everything I can from City Hall to reduce violence, but it’s clear we still have huge financial challenges ahead because the Government has implemented a new era of austerity on public services in London. Ministers must now match my commitment to tackling this issue and fully refund City Hall and the Met for all the lost income and money spent tackling the pandemic.”