Column: Police failure to turn up to 999 or 101 calls is alarming
PUBLISHED: 10:28 21 September 2017 | UPDATED: 18:08 22 September 2017
London's policing service is being destroyed and Londoners must come to terms with what is happening.
London’s policing service is being destroyed and Londoners must come to terms with what is happening.
Policing is an invisible resource – you don’t want to know about it until you need it. But increasingly today, if you need them, they may not be there.
This is NOT an attack on the dedication of serving police men and women for the reasons below.
For the first time in 13+ years of being involved in safer neighbourhood policing, I am receiving regular reports of police failing to turn up to 999 calls and of 101 calls not being responded to.
This is a symptom of the ongoing degradation of the Met which started with the £500m cut in funding four years ago by Boris Johnson and which continues today with an additional £400m under Mayor Khan.
The Met’s budget four years ago was £2.2bn so its budget is effectively being cut in half.
I will speak to what is happening in Camden, but anticipate that the picture is the same across London.
Anti-social behaviour and crime, including terrorist events, are on the rise across the capital, moped crime is out of control, there is a backlog of 999 calls, calls to 101 are left waiting for half to one hour for their calls to be answered, the response teams are run ragged responding and investigating crime resulting in a poor service to victims who have to wait longer for attention and the fear of crime is increasing.
The Met have taken a hard look at their offer and decided to reduce face to face meetings, not respond to certain crimes, require victims to find their own CCTV evidence and witnesses and to write their own statements, close cases with little or no evidence (reported case closures run at about 35% and there is an internal recommendation that case closures should increase to 79%) and increase their target to reach 999 calls from 10 mins to 15 mins.
The failed merger of the 3 boroughs in the East has not deterred the Met from pushing through the equally unsuccessful merger of Camden and Islington to achieve savings.
Mayor Khan, Amber Rudd and Theresa May, effectively the decision makers, are failing Londoners who deserve to understand the impact of underfunding on their future safety.
The government refuse to fund the Met properly and Mayor Khan is finger wagging in some frustration.
The government deserves the finger but the Mayor can do more, such as asking Londoners by referendum to pay more for proper policing.
He has not done so, while victim after victim mount up and people suffer under the yolk of increased crime and anti-social behaviour.
The Met are gagged about underfunding difficulties, so it therefore falls to us, the public, to fight to be served and protected by a properly funded police force.
Forget Brexit – that is still 18 months away. The policing crisis is now and the thin blue line is emaciated and on its knees. This is a dangerous situation – the Met needs £1bn of funds immediately.
If Londoners do not rise up to demand more for the police, then when the next riot occurs or major terrorist event takes place which the Met cannot properly police while protecting our neighbourhoods, we will all suffer the consequences of the degradation of the service which is past its tipping point.