Hackney calls for fairer police funding
Hackney Council is calling on the Government to halt further cuts to London’s police budgets, which could jeopardise Hackney’s great policing record.
Since 2010 the Met has had to make £1bn worth of cuts, and now further announcements of funding cuts are expected in March, as the Home Office is set to change the way the overall policing budget is divided. This could see funding move away from the capital. When ministers considered plans like this at the end of 2015, London police were set to loose between £184m and £700m. On top of the £1bn already cut from the Met police budget, these extra cuts could mean a total of £1.7bn is cut from police budgets in the capital.
Hackney has been the hardest hit since 2010 when the government started to cut police budgets in London. The borough has seen the largest percentage reduction in policing strength in the capital, going from 770 police officers in 2010 to only 578 in January 2017 (-24.9%).
In 2010 Hackney had one of the best records on crime due to sustained investment in the borough’s policing. Since cuts to police staff and budgets, Hackney’s long term crime reduction has been put at risk. Total crime in the borough is now up 6.4% over the last 12 months after many years of decline. A similar picture is being seen across the capital with London wide total crime rising by 3.5%.
As well as overall crime starting to increase, there has also been an increase in certain types of crime, particularly those related to violence and theft which have started to increase after long years of decline. Burglary is now up 8.9%, and violence against the person is up 5.5%.
The Mayor of Hackney, Philip Glanville has written to the Home Office Minister Amber Rudd MP. As well as highlighting Hackney’s concerns over further police budget cuts, the Council is requesting a fair police funding deal for London that includes a review of extra funding reductions and full compensation via the National and International Capital Cities Grant. The NICC Grant is currently only funded to almost half the Home Office’s own suggest level of £281m, instead the capital only receives £174m in funding to cover these additional costs.
Hackney and the wider Metropolitan Police force needs adequate funding and staffing to be able to cut crime and keep communities safe, now and in the future.
Hackney has faced a disproportionate cut to its policing resources since 2010. This is now beginning to have an effect as we see overall crime statistics beginning to rise. Any further regressive and short-sighted cuts to London’s police service will put the safety of the capital and its residents at risk.
Investment, not further reduction in funding is needed to ensure a low crime future for London and Hackney. We need to cut crime in London and this will not be done by cutting the Metropolitan Police Service even further.