Cruddas concern over police cuts

DAGENHAM and Rainham MP Jon Cruddas has asked the Mayor of London to clarify whether Safer Neighbourhood Teams in his constituency would be cut.

Boris Johnson has proposed funding cuts to the Met which London Assembly Member John Biggs claims will lead to the loss of around 1,000 officers in the capital by 2013/14.

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

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

While each ward in east London is 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 Met traffic wardens is set to reduce by 96 per cent this year.

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

Most Read

Mr Cruddas said: “London is being hit too hard, too fast by the Conservative-led government cuts and I’m asking the mayor to confirm their impact on police numbers in Dagenham and Rainham.

“Community policing with Safer Neighbourhood Teams have made a real difference to people’s lives and we cannot risk this being thrown away. The mayor’s budget is promising much but gives no answer on how he will maintain police numbers in our community.

But Borough Commander Matt Bell has said that Barking and Dagenham police force would remain at full strength.

He told the POST: “At this time I am not aware of any plans to reduce the number of police officers in Barking and Dagenham.”

A police spokewoman added that the borough has not lost any officers at all aside from natural wastage associated with retirement, career changes or transfers and these officers are replaced to ensure that the force maintains its numbers.