Your police service in London - admired and replicated around the world - is on the precipice of being destroyed.
It is understandable in austere financial times that the police - along with other essential public service - accept our fair share of the burden, however, we strongly believe that the cuts imposed have gone too far, seriously curtailing our ability to provide the best possible service to the communities of London.
We now have less resilience, fewer warranted officers and a drastically weakened front line.
As the late Paul McKeever, a Met officer and former Chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales, once said: “Cut, is a rather lame description of what the coalition government is doing to the police service. It is completely decimating the service as we know it, disrespecting all that Sir Robert Peel stood for and ruining decades of progress.”
In highlighting to you that #CutsHaveConsequences, we will no doubt again be accused of scaremongering; but the harsh reality is that ill-conceived policies are having serious tangible consequences.
Playing Russian roulette with the safety and welfare of our communities and the brave officers of the Metropolitan Police as well as our colleagues across the country is simply not acceptable. Through this public awareness campaign we aim to inform you of the reality with facts not smoke and mirrors or spin, just plain truth and fact.
Already there has been £600m saved from Metropolitan Police budgets, with yet more to come as another £800m is to be saved by 2016. That’s £1.4 billion less being spent on keeping you safe. Even the iconic world famous New Scotland Yard has been sold off as the accountants try to balance the budget.
Since 2010 the Metropolitan Police service has shrunk by over 2,000 warranted officers (more than the entire force strength of Hertfordshire Police. Nationally more than 16,000 officers have been lost to the cuts.
It’s an interesting figure. It should not be forgotten that it took 16,000 officers to restore order on our streets during the 2011 riots. Infrastructure is another area where the cuts are biting ferociously with over 60 local police stations across London closing, removing direct access to the safe haven of a secure place to report a crime or seek help from those who need it most – the local people of communities in London.
Could the Met cope in the event of a terrorist attack here in the capital? With the terrorist threat increased to “severe”, meaning an attack is highly likely; and we see terrible attacks across the world, in the USA, Canada and France; remembering that by British tradition the majority of our officers patrol unarmed. We have seen the firearms capability of the Metropolitan Police reduced by over 750 officers in the last 4 years.
There is an aspiration in the Met called; “Total Policing”, which we are told means a total war on crime, total care for victims and total professionalism from our staff. With more demands and less resources, localism and neighbourhood policing is on its knees – communities are already noticing their local officers are missing on a more regular basis – taken to work in more high profile areas stretching the thin blue line to breaking point.
How can we hope to service this aspiration or more importantly, the victims, the very public we are here to serve? Remember in the last reporting period crime has risen on average by more than 20% in London, by more than 35% in some areas.
We know one thing for certain you the public do not want to see the Police Service diminished or the London Police Officer being added to the endangered species list.
Never has so much been demanded, of so few, with so little – all you get for less is less - the cuts must stop and they must stop now.