Police cuts will make east Londoners feel less safe, assembly member warns

EAST Londoners will feel less safe because of Boris Johnson’s proposal to cut police numbers, London Assembly Member John Biggs has warned.

The government has cut funding to London’s police, fire, economic development and transport budgets by more than half-a-billion pounds - the equivalent of �200 from every household in east London.

The London mayor presented his draft �13.6 billion budget to the London Assembly last week, saying he could fund “more uniformed fully warranted police officers than ever before” despite �618 million cuts.

But official police figures show that officer numbers have fallen from 33,238 last February to 32,502.

Mr Biggs, said: “The figures are clear, police numbers are falling despite the mayor opening up recruitment. You can’t cut half a billion from our budget and protect front line services - the sums just don’t add up.

“Survey after survey shows that crime and safety are top concerns for Londoners yet because of the cuts of this mayor and government we’re losing uniformed officers from the front line and this will make us all feel less safe.”

The mayor claims that under his budget there will be 32,510 officers by 2012 but Mr Biggs said that policing numbers are expected to fall to 31,800 by 2013/14 - almost 1,500 down from their 2010 high.

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The number of local neighbourhood sergeants will be cut by 100 this year and then halved, from 630 to 330, in the next two years.

While each ward in east London is currently served by a minimum of three community support officers, two constables and one sergeant, the mayor admitted this week that smaller or ‘safer’ wards could be merged.

The number of police community support officers in London is also to be cut by almost 800 and the number of traffic wardens is set to reduce by 96 per cent this year.

All 102 police community support officer posts currently part of the Met’s safer schools teams are being lost. Although extra police officers will be assigned to the teams.