Concerns about changes to the way London Boroughs help fund extra police officers have recently been raised by at City Hall by Caroline Pidgeon AM, the Liberal Democrat Assembly Member.
Across London there has long been a scheme where London Boroughs work together to fund extra police offices. The current scheme, called Met Patrol Plus, allows London Boroughs to share equally the cost of extra police officers, using a model of ‘Buy One Get One Free’ – a 50 per cent discount. They can also agree where these extra officers will patrol, often in town centres and priority areas.
There are currently around 330 officers on the existing Met Patrol scheme, spread across 21 London boroughs.
However the Metropolitan Police, with the Mayor of London’s full backing, is now introducing a new scheme called Partnership Plus, which will only offer a discount of 21%. London Boroughs will be expected to pick up the remaining cost of the police officers. The Met is also not providing any assurance that police officers funded by local councils will even be kept within their boroughs.
Highlighting why the changes could be so harmful, Caroline said:
“Having spoken to a number of London boroughs there is general agreement that this is not a good deal. A partnership needs to work for both sides. Sadly these proposals fail to do this as they offer very little to London Boroughs. The Mayor should get his dictionary out and check what partnership actually means.
“We need to put the community in control of community policing, but this risks doing the very opposite.
“I fear London Boroughs may now walk away from the scheme entirely, leading to fewer police officers, especially in areas where local communities wish to see them located.
“I think it is regrettable that these changes are going ahead, and have called on the Mayor to keep the scheme under review. I am also urging the Mayor to ensure Police Community Support Officers are also covered by the any scheme, especially as there are now so many vacancies across London.”