A report from Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) has concluded that London's police force could do better.
HMIC's annual assessment of the Metropolitan Police has found that while it's good on preventing crime and anti-social behaviour, and tackling gangs and organised crime, it needs to be more consistent in how it deals with vulnerable people. The force is also criticised for delays in allocating officers to investigate crime, citing a lack of trained detectives and some basic equipment (such as digital cameras for recording evidence) for frontline officers. Staff shortages are also mentioned when it comes to managing offenders, which could lead to what's called "avoidable re-offending".
Staff shortages also underpin some other figures that were released yesterday. Met statistics given to the London Assembly Labour group show that officers at borough policing level are being taken off their local roles and temporarily reassigned to 'London-wide public order operations' at the rate of 2,000 shifts a month. In 2014, 111,684 shifts were reassigned from local duties, and in the first nine months of 2015 another 78,640 shifts were moved. That's an average of roughly two shifts a day for each borough.
Responding to HMIC's report, Labour’s London Assembly Policing spokesperson Joanne McCartney said
At the heart of the problems identified is a shortage of both police officers and funding. For years the mayor has tried to claim that the cuts to police budgets and neighbourhood teams have had no impact. This report lays that myth to rest, showing that people are being left less safe and avoidable re-offending is not being prevented as a result of staff shortages.