London Assembly Labour members have called for the Mayor to rethink cuts to neighbourhood policing after research showed just 53% of Londoners said police presence in their borough is adequate.
The figures come from the Metropolitan Police's own ‘Confidence Comparator’, which maps data from public responses to the annual MPS/MOPAC Public Attitude Survey. But when it comes to a visible police presence, 47% of Londoners felt short-changed by the Met. In some areas it was even lower — 31% in south Lewisham, 33% in central Lewisham and 35% in Dagenham. In case you were wondering, the highest scores were in Richmond and Kensington at 70%. Boris Johnson's own borough of Islington scored pretty badly too, with between 44% and 54%. Interestingly, London Datastore figures for those areas showed that in Lewisham, an average of 38% of residents were 'worried' or 'very worried' about crime in their area.
The Mayor's highly contentious cuts to the capital's policing included reducing neighbourhood teams from six uniformed officers to two, leading to fears that they're overstretched. The Met has made cuts of £600m in the last four years and expects to slash a further £800m over the next four. Labour's London Assembly spokesperson for crime Joanne McCartney said:
“With 4,333 fewer uniformed officers on our streets since the government came to power it’s no surprise that many Londoners do not feel they have a visible police presence in their area.
“It’s now very likely that the Mayor will miss his target to increase public confidence by 20% and it’s not hard to see why. The cuts to police numbers and the Mayor’s decision to dismantle neighbourhood policing teams have clearly been noticed by the public and show that we need to see more officers back on the beat in local neighbourhoods.”
Future Mayoral hopeful Stephen Greenhalgh told the BBC that he wanted to see emergency services combining functions — though the police already appear to be lending a hand to the equally-overstretched London Ambulance Service — and councils could have to pay for more police officers. We'll leave you to draw your own conclusions on where councils would get money to pay for more police officers.