Police and Crime Plan is right for London

This week MOPAC published its draft Police and Crime plan for public consultation. A series of public meetings will be held in every London Borough during the consultation (which ends on 6th March 2013) where you can have your say on the Mayor’s proposals. You can also respond in writing via the online survey at www.smart-survey.co.uk/v.asp?i=67232epffs.

We all know that budgets are tight and as Labour’s former Economic Secretary to the Treasury said “there’s no money left” so we have to make budgets work harder to continue to deliver improvements to policing. This draft plan sets out how the Mayor and the Met will deliver for Londoners and cut crime, boost confidence in the police and reduce costs. The Mayor’s plan focuses resources on frontline police and cutting crime. Notably it restates the Mayor’s commitment to maintain police numbers at or around 32,000.  

I am proud that in this plan MOPAC propose to direct resources away from uneconomical buildings to enable the deployment of officers through a new local policing model which will see an additional 2,600 officers in Safer Neighbourhood Teams.  More officers out in the community and available to the public delivering a more visible police service.

When I joined MOPAC as an adviser on property, I was amazed just how much space the Met currently owns or occupies, a total 729 buildings across London, costing £203m a year to run. The draft Estates Strategy in the Police and Crime Plan, proposes a reduction in the size of the estate from 900,000 sq metres to 600,000 sq metres in line with operational need. There is a meaningful commitment to frontline policing by proposing the sale of the New Scotland Yard HQ and ensuring the budget strain falls on buildings and HQ not officer numbers. Alongside other savings outlined, the estate plans are projected to save taxpayers £60m in running costs.

Unsurprisingly people are very protective of their local services, and rightly so. However, there has been much speculation in recent months about the ‘front counter’ presence of the police and the future of local police stations. The current estate includes 136 front counters open to the public. But analysis shows that the overwhelming majority of visits take place at just half of these counters. Across the whole of London, fewer than 50 crimes a night are now reported at front counters in police stations. Staffing and running under utilised front counters is expensive and inefficient. The way the Met police the capital needs to be reflected in the buildings they own, those buildings need to meet the need of modern policing and the expectations of Londoners. As a result this plan proposes that 65 of the least utilised front counters closed to allow resources to be used on more visible policing in the community.  

Crucially, the draft plan guarantees at least one 24-hour station in each borough, whilst seeking to make it easier and more convenient for Londoners to access the police in new ways, making the most of technology, sharing space with other service providers and making police more available in your local community.

The changes to the estate proposed in these plans reflect the changing needs of policing in London and delivery of a better service to Londoners. The Met has already guaranteed that every victim of crime in London will get a personal visit from the police, should they want one. This clearly changes the demand for, and use of, the existing estate. MOPAC is determined that changes should deliver a better police service and is seeking your views on new locations for crime prevention desks and police bureaus where members of the public can meet the police face-to-face without visiting an old fashioned police station. Therefore, overall the number of contact points where Londoners can access the police will increase significantly as a result of this plan. 

This plan represents a good deal for London, delivering higher profile policing, more public contacts points, and good value for money for taxpayers.

This entry was posted on Friday, 11 January 2013 and is filed under ,,,. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Responses are currently closed.