Letter for publication: rebuttal on policing

At the risk of perpetuating an argument, Jessica Learmont-Criqui still doesn’t get it, concerning police numbers and funding. She again says the Mayor ‘issued a diktat’ to cut the police in Camden: I challenge her to produce any document which states this in the bald terms she asserts.

She again fails to recognise that the root cause of the fall in officer numbers is due to the Conservative Government decision to cut the Met.’s grant by a Billion pounds. Why?  I would suggest it is self evident to every objective thinking Londoner that you can’t slice almost a third off a budget  when 80% is spent on pay without it having an impact on officer numbers.- yet not a peep of criticism from Ms Criqui.

She again fails to recognise that 4/5ths of the police budget is from Government grant, so to make up the shortfall on that ratio, council  taxes for the police precept would have to go up fivefold to the amount needed to cover the gap.

She suggests the Mayor could divert funds from elsewhere, which he is  doing, as well as increasing  the precept to the maximum he can and using business rates to supplement the budget, creating the £110 million that keeps 1000 officers on the front line.

She fails to recognise the cuts in Government support for other  services too: for example the axing of the entire revenue support for TfL from Government – another £500 million gone  from London. In failing to do so, she also does not recognise that the Mayor has  many other services to fund from his resources: what does she say he should cut instead? Silence from her on that one, too.

She fails to see the previous Conservative  Mayor froze and cut  the precept, contributing to the problems we now have in the funding of the police.

She suggest a ’referendum’ but does not say what her figure to increase the council tax would be to meet her demands for police numbers: I challenge her to give that figure- and in doing so remind her how her proposal to ‘crowd fund’  extra policing for her area fell flat on its face through lack of public support a few years ago.

She also fails to declare her political allegiances and ambitions, which I suspect are now rather clear to all. My allegiances are there for all to see: I challenge her to be upfront over hers.

Andrew Dismore AM

Labour London Assembly Member for Barnet and Camden