Mayor: Police numbers will hit 19-year low unless Chancellor acts in Budget

Khan warns police officer numbers in London could drop below 27,500 by 2021 – the lowest total since 2002

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan today launched his strongest warning to date on Government police cuts, as he called on the Chancellor to use next month’s Budget to end the funding crisis which is putting lives at risk at a time of rising crime, rising population and an unprecedented terror threat in the capital.

Sadiq Khan warned that police numbers in London would fall as dangerously low as 27,500 by 2021 without additional funding – the lowest level in 19 years. This would represent one police officer per 326 Londoners compared to one officer per 242 Londoners in 2010 - a fall of 26 per cent.

Last week new figures confirmed that recorded crime across the UK has been rising since 2014. In London, violent crime is increasing and there has been a shift in counter terror demand following four deadly attacks this year. 

Yet police force budgets have been reduced in real terms by the Treasury since 2010, while inflation has risen to 2.9 per cent. The Chair of The National Police Chiefs’ Council, Chief Constable Sara Thornton, has warned that Counter Terror funding for policing is being cut by more than seven per cent in real terms over the next three years. 

In London, where the population has reached a record 8.6m and continues to rise, the police funding crisis has already led to the loss of almost 3,000 police community support officers, most of the capital’s police station front counters and 120 police buildings as the Mayor and the Met have sought to do everything possible to make £600m of savings while protecting frontline police officers.

A further £400m of savings is needed by 2021, the opportunities to generate more income or make substantial savings are diminishing as the force has been cut to the bone. Sadiq Khan has repeatedly called on Ministers to put public safety first and properly fund the police, but they have done nothing. There is now no option but to reduce police officer numbers. 

Today the Mayor spelled out the situation in the bleakest terms yet – according to the most recent projections, the number of police officer numbers in London risks falling below 27,500 by 2021, the lowest level since 2002. The projected figure represents a 26 per cent fall in officer numbers compared to London’s population since 2010.

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