Deputy Mayor Kit Malthouse has warned of a "divide" between the Old Bill and the public, after speaking about "ghettoes" of cops living out in the Home Counties. Police officers, it seems, like to live together, and are setting up home in the leafy vales of Surrey and Hertfordshire, far removed from the lives of those they're employed to serve and protect.
The actual figures aren't as bad as Malthouse, who is also chairman of the Metropolitan Police Authority, suggests: around half of the Met's 32,000 officers live in London, although the majority reside in the outer boroughs, and Malthouse would prefer to see more integration between officers and the beat they patrol. Speaking to the Commons Home Affair Select Committee, he also offered up the claim that officers "hate living in London", a suggestions that has (rightly) angered Scotland Yard.
While breaking up these ghettoes could aid police-public relations, it's also important for other reasons. If the plot of 1997 film Cop Land, starring Sly Stallone, Robert De Niro, and Harvey Keitel, is to be believed, groups of resident coppers can be drawn into corruption. The good people of St Albans and Guildford may think they're safe with a claque of rozzers for neighbours, but who knows what schemes they may be hatching?