Ruth Cadbury Blasts Sharp Decline in Neighbourhood Police Numbers

Latest figures show local teams have decreased by 61%

Sadiq Khan has spent £37 million on tackling crime this year

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Brentford & Isleworth MP Ruth Cadbury has accused the government of failing to protect residents from anti-social behaviour after new figures suggest there has been a dramatic decline in neighbourhood policing team numbers.

Official data shows that in the year ending March 2015 there were 7636 neighbourhood police officers In London (6477 officers & 1159 PCSOs). By March 2022 there were only 2940 (2341 officers & 599 officers), which represents a fall of 61% or over 4,000 fewer officers in these roles.

Nationally, the total number of neighbourhood police officers and Community Support officers has fallen by 10,000 since 2015.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has spent £37 million this year to tackle crime, which comes on top of over £1 billion in investment in policing over the past 5 years.

In response to these new figures Ruth Cadbury MP has backed by the call by Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper for a return to neighbourhood policing, with visible neighbourhood police hubs in all local areas backed by new neighbourhood prevention team made up of police, community support officers, youth workers and local authority staff.

These teams would prioritise being visible on patrols, preventing crime before it happens and working with communities to address local problem. They would pursue serial perpetrators of anti-social behaviour (ASB), as well as dealing with visible signs of disorder such as broken windows, graffiti and fly-tipping. These teams will also support victims of ASB.

She said, ‘‘I know from listening to people locally that anti-social behaviour is continuing to have a huge impact on so many people.

“While we have seen some recent improvements such as the new dedicated police team for Hounslow High Street I know that we need to go much further to tackle anti-social behaviour. A decade of cuts to funding means the police locally still don’t have the funding they need to carry out regular foot patrol in high risk areas. Additionally, a decade of cuts to public services like schools and youth clubs mean that we’re still unable to tackle the root causes of anti-social behaviour and crime locally.

“That’s why I’m backing the call for a return to visible neighbourhood policing, with a focus on anti-social behaviour. ’’

The government did give an above inflation increase to police services across the country for the current financial year with the aim of boosting overall police numbers by 20,000 by March 2023. The Met’s funding was increased to £3.24bn and it was given support to hire an additional 2,599 officers but it is understood that recruitment has been difficult. The increase in the current year which is part of a multi-year funding package has come on the back of successive decreases in overall funding.

This April the Met was claiming to have the largest officer strength in its history with a head-count of over 34,000 with more being recruited during the year. The target for March 2023 was 36,500 which would require a doubling of normal recruitment numbers to 4,000 given officers leaving the service or retiring.

Home Secretary, Priti Patel, when announcing the funding increases for the current year said, "Crimes including theft, burglary and knife crime are down, we’ve got an additional 11,053 police officers on our streets, and we’ve shut down 1,500 drugs lines which exploit the young and the vulnerable.

“But we must go further and faster to make our communities even safer so today I am giving our excellent police forces and law enforcement agencies more funding to do just that, in line with our Beating Crime Plan.

"Reducing crime is a top priority for this government and I will continue working with police leaders to ensure this unprecedented investment results in less crime and fewer victims.

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August 12, 2022

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