Dismore questions Mayor on the Home Secretary and Police funding

At today’s London Assembly Mayor’s Question Time Andrew Dismore AM, Labour London Assembly Member for Barnet and Camden, questioned the Mayor on whether he had assurances from the Home Secretary concerning the future funding of the Metropolitan Police (video here)

Mr Dismore asked the Mayor:

‘In view of the new Home Secretary’s comments to the Police Federation conference over the need for extra funding for the police, have you discussed the needs of the Met with him; and has he given you any assurances about extra funding for the Met?

Home Secretary Sajid Javid MP told the Police Federation conference:

’I recognise that we need to prioritise public investment in policing … we need to think more about the long-term funding of the police. So, my pledge to you is this: I will prioritise police funding in the Spending Review next year’

‘That is a welcome change from his predecessor Theresa May, who told the Police Federation to ‘stop crying wolf over police cuts.’ However, do you agree we need more than warm words? How much additional funding should the Home Secretary guarantee for the Met; and can we wait for next year’s spending review bearing in mind this morning’s report anticipating the Chancellor’s speech tonight, that there will be no more money for the police?

The Government has also announced that they will be looking at the Police Funding Formula in the 2019 Spending Review. When the Government last looked at changing the Police Funding Formula in 2015, the Met. stood to lose between £174 million and £700 million a year. We have seen the Government’s smoke and mirrors with this year’s police settlement, with the Conservatives pretending that they had given millions extra to the police, when in fact the Government didn’t stump up a penny: all they did was allow you to raise the policing precept in the Council Tax. How can we be sure that the same won’t happen this time in the 2019 Spending Review?

The Mayor said that the needs of the police have been made clear, and he hopes everyone in Government are aware. He met the Home Secretary at the Serious Violent Crime Taskforce and it was good to hear a cabinet member recognise the needs. He welcomed warm words but it cannot wait until the spending review. The GLA is now paying 25% of the Met’s funding, compared to 20% in 2010. We need the Home Secretary to deliver. The Government delayed the formula review and the Home Office will engage with us re the formula. The Government recognises London’s unique needs.

After the debate Mr Dismore added:

‘The most recent figures show that the Met has made £730million of cuts since 2010 with a further £335million to come by 2021. As a result, Met. police officer numbers have fallen below 30,000 for the first time in 15 years, with the loss of a third of police staff posts – down from 14,330 to 9,985, two-thirds of police community support officer posts – down from 4,607 to 1,591, as well as 114 police station front counters and 120 police buildings.

‘In his most recent budget, the Mayor has done as much as he can. He has invested £110 million in the police in 2018/19 to partially plug the gap left by Government cuts by raising the police precept and diverting business rates income towards the Met. It is worrying that the Chancellor does not seem to be on the same page as the Home Secretary. It is clear the Met needs more and it needs it now.’