LONDON: Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has warned the Government that Londoners cannot be kept safe unless huge police cuts are reversed in next week’s Budget.
The capital city is on course to have it slowest number of officers since the start of the century, as its population booms, he told a Parliamentary inquiry. Mr Khan also echoed Amber Rudd, the Home Secretary, in warning that the consequences for security from crashing out of the EU with no deal were “unthinkable”.
Cross-border agreements to share data on terror suspects, through the Europol agency and the Schengen information system, will be lost without an agreement. Mr Khan told the Commons Home Affairs Select Committee that the Metropolitan force was on course to be the smallest for two decades, at fewer than 30,000 officers. “I’m seriously worried about our ability to keep our city safe,” he said, adding: “We are at a tipping point.”
The mayor said the looming cuts would also prevent London trying to reverse the growing problem of fatal teenage stabbings, after another death last night. “I wonder about knife crime getting even worse – if that’s conceivable – over the next period,” Mr Khan told the committee. The Metropolitan force has been told to save £400m over the next five years, on top of £600m of previous cuts, Scotland Yard says. Meanwhile, there is growing concern about a surge in terror cases involving Islamist and far-Right extremists, prompting a major drive to recruit more terrorism lawyers. Mr Khan’s call puts him on a collision course with the Home Secretary after she told him and police chiefs to stop grumbling about funding and start “cutting” crime. They should not just be “reaching for a pen to write a press release asking for more money”” when crime rises. Ms Rudd said recently, in a major speech. The Government would consider bids for extra resources but the job of police and crime commissioners “mustn’t just be about lobbying the Government for money”.