The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, and the Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, today joined forces in their campaign to tell the Chancellor to use the Budget on 22 November to end the police funding crisis and end the risk to public safety.
In a letter to Philip Hammond, the Mayors spelled out their warning in the strongest possible terms, urging the Chancellor to end the real-terms cuts to policing budgets since 2010, and to put public safety first.
This year, both cities have suffered horrific terrorist attacks, and the police response has been phenomenal – with officers going above and beyond the call of duty to keep our citizens safe.
But, as counter-terrorism experts warn that the number of attacks and attempted attacks will continue to increase with both overall crime and violent crime rising across the country - the two Mayors are extremely concerned that the police’s ability to keep their cities safe and to prevent and respond to any future terrorist attacks is being put at risk by the funding crisis facing forces across England and Wales.
Police force budgets have been reduced in real terms since 2010, while costs have continued to rise and inflation is currently at 2.9 per. The Chair of The National Police Chiefs' Council, Chief Constable Sara Thornton, has warned that even Counter Terror funding for policing is being cut by more than seven per cent in real terms over the next three years.
In London, the Met has had to make £600 million of cuts since 2010, and must find a further £400 million of savings by 2021. This has already led to the loss of 30 per cent of police staff posts – from 14,330 to 9,985, and 65 per cent of police community support officers posts – from 4,607 to 1,591, plus most of the capital’s police station front counters and 120 police buildings.
The latest projections show that if the funding crisis does not end now, police officer numbers in the capital could fall below 27,500 by 2021 – a dangerous 19-year low which presents a serious risk to the safety of Londoners.
In Greater Manchester, the police service has faced cuts of £215m since 2010, which has resulted in the loss of 2,000 police officers, a 25 per cent reduction on 2010 levels, and 1,000 police staff.
The Mayors are clear that this is simply unsustainable and the only answer is a real-terms increase in police funding.
Writing to the Chancellor today, the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, and the Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, said:
“As the Mayors of London and Greater Manchester, we are extremely worried that the police’s ability to keep our cities safe, and to prevent and respond to the risk of future terrorist attacks, is being put in jeopardy by the current funding crisis facing forces across England and Wales.
“As you know, counter-terrorism experts are warning that the increase in attacks and attempted attacks this year is not a blip, but a sustained rise. And this is against the backdrop of crime rising across the country and violent crime rising even faster.
“We urge you to use the Budget on 22 November to end the real-term cuts that our police service have undergone since 2010, and to put public safety first. To put it bluntly, if you continue with real-terms cuts you will be putting at risk the safety of those who live, work and visit our cities without an end to the years of real-term cuts.
“We implore you to use the Budget to ensure the continued safety of the people who live and work in our great cities and the millions of visitors we receive each year. We need a real-terms increase in police funding, ensuring that the national and international work that the police in our cities do on behalf of the rest of the country is properly funded.”
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