Response to Jessica Learmond- Criqui on Police cuts

Dear editor,

Jessica Learmond –Criqui again raises the issue of crime and her  obsession with blaming the Mayor for the increase in crime ( even though the increase in London is less than in  the rest of the country).

Firstly, of course, the real blame for rising crime attaches to the criminals themselves, an obvious fact on which she has not commented.

Secondly, Ms Learmond –Criqui  yet again fails to recognise the real reason why police officer numbers have gone down across London. This is due to the £1,065 billion cut in the Met.’s grant  imposed by the Conservative  Government  from 2010 lasting to  2021. It is not surprising  that the Met.’s senior officers have raised the consequential drop in officer numbers as a contributory factor to the problems of crime in the capital.

However Ms Learmond –Criqui  has not said a  single word of criticism of the Conservative Government  about this cut in funding. Perhaps this is because at one time she was no. 34 on the Conservative Party ‘top up  A list’ for Parliamentary candidates, according to the  ‘conservtivehome’ website: her Conservative sympathies  seem  not to have been acknowledged  in her correspondence so far.

It is clear from her last article  that she has produced her own extrapolation of the Mayor’s London- wide budget so as  to infer a ‘diktat’ from the Mayor about police cuts for Camden. Setting a balanced budget is hardly a diktat: it is a  legal requirement- and there is no reference to Camden’s police officer numbers in it anyway, as I think Ms Learmond –Criqui  acknowledges .

The Mayor has already raised Council Tax and the police precept within it by 5.8%, the maximum he can lawfully do, without a referendum.

Her argument is the Mayor should hold a referendum on increasing the Council Tax to pay for more police: but she has always failed to say by what percentage the tax should go up: she now says it is for me to say what she wants. Whilst I am not a mind reader, I have done some modelling to see what the outcome would be of restoring the cuts on tax levels.

To go back to the number of police officers we last had under the Labour Government and previous Labour Mayor, the precept increase would need to be over 39%. That figure gives the same number of warranted constables, but would actually need to be higher as a proportion of those extra officers  would need to be in the supervisory ranks of  sergeants and inspectors. Moreover that would not replace the lost PCSOs and civilian Met. staff.

The cut in Government  funding  has led to the loss of a third of police staff posts – down from 14,330 to 9,985, and two-thirds of PCSOs– down from 4,607 to 1,591, as well as  the closure of 114 police station front counters and 120 police buildings, with   borough mergers also needed to save costs too.


If Ms Learmond  Criqui wants to fund the police at a level to restore  these other cuts too, then what has to be  modelled  is the increase that would be needed to replace  the lost central Government  grant of £1,065 billion. The answer is an increase in the Mayoral policing precept of a whopping 123%.


Bearing in mind Jessica Learmond –Criqui’s rather more modest scheme for crowd funding  extra officers for Hampstead a little while ago fell flat, I wish her good luck with her referendum that asks people to pay more than double the precept they  currently pay.


Andrew Dismore

London Assembly Member for Barnet and Camden