Efficiency in the Met Police
Wednesday, 14 March 2012 00:00
Question by Steve O'Connell
What have you done to ensure that tax payers' money is not wasted while improving policing in London?
Answer by Boris Johnson
Thank you so much, Steve. A great deal of work has been done by everybody in the Metropolitan Police Authority across the board, by yourself, by Kit, by others to get more police out on the streets. The budgetary savings so far total £744 million. That is against a backdrop of freezing the precept and getting another 1,000 more warranted officers out on the streets than there were when I came into office. Clearly there is still a way to go. I think if you talk to Bernard Hogan-Howe [Commissioner, Metropolitan Police Service], to senior police officers, they still think there is more we can do and I am sure that is right.
Steve O'Connell (AM): Yes, absolutely. In an era of unprecedented demands upon the financial position, you have saved, with the support from others, over £700 million out of the budget, but whilst doing that, and giving value for money, you have increased police by 1,000 warranted officers over four years and increased specials, as we have spoken about earlier. It is not going to get any easier financially. Can I have your commitment that you will continue to protect the front line whilst urging the police and the Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime (MOPC) to seek its savings in inanimate objects? Would that be the area you will be looking towards?
Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): Yes. The work that is being done is to get officers out of the backroom and on to the front line and yes, of course, the Project Herald you will remember with the custody suites was very much motivated by that kind of consideration. It may be there are further savings to be found in the police estate, in cars, in all that kind of thing and I know we are looking at that very keenly now.
Steve O'Connell (AM): I think it is also right, and I seek from you your commitment to support the Safer Neighbourhood Teams, again if we have a period of austerity, the Safer Neighbourhood Teams are highly valued across London for reassurance and also protection of our residents. Can I have your reassurance, Mr Mayor, that Safer Neighbourhood Teams, under your Mayoralty, will be protected over the coming years?
Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): Absolutely 1000%. We have protected the Safer Neighbourhood Teams. We think they are great for London. There will be a Safer Neighbourhood Team in every ward as long as I am Mayor of this City.
Steve O'Connell (AM): Lastly, just to summarise, under your Mayoralty over the four years, we have seen crime down 10%, violence down, robbery down, police numbers up, both specials and in fully warranted officers despite levels of unprecedented financial austerity. Mr Mayor, would you commit to continue with that record?
Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): Yes. If you look at what Bernard Hogan-Howe achieved in Liverpool where he bought crime down by, I think, about 32%, or more, 40%, we think we can do more here in the City. Some indicators have not been going in the right direction; some indicators have been going in the right direction. We want to see progress across the board. If you look at what is happening say on some aspects of robbery, we had a bad patch. It is now starting to go good again but the overall picture is extremely good and we want to make sure that success is built on.