In this weeks PMQ's I challenged the Prime Minister over Government cuts to the Metropolitan Police (Met) and the recent rise of violent crime in London.
Violent crime has recently surged across the capital. Statistics from the Met show that between July 2016 – July 2017 knife crime increased by 34% and gun crime by 37% compared to the previous year.
This has occurred whilst the Government has made significant cuts to the Met. Since 2010 the Met’s budget has been reduced by £600 million and even after a rise in the council tax precept, a further £325 million worth of savings have to be found by 2021.
These cuts have already led to the loss of 30 per cent of police staff, 65 per cent of police community support officers, 120 police buildings and most of the capital’s police station front counters.
The Home Secretary has stated there is no evidence to suggest a lack of resources is influencing violent crime. However, recent leaked Home Office documents claim the cuts have “likely contributed” to the rise in violent crime.
This all comes amidst the news at the beginning of the month that six people had been stabbed in four separate attacks across the capitol within a 90-minute window. The total number of suspected murders in London this year is 60.
Addressing this, I warned that cuts so far have reduced the Met’s operational capability and that further cuts will only make tackling violent crime more difficult. Sentiments which have further been expressed by Cressida Dick the Met commissioner.
I pay tribute to all those within the Met who work so hard to keep our streets safe. But cuts so far have made it harder for the Met to operate effectively and as such we have seen a surge in violent crime. Further cuts will only make an already difficult operating environment that much harder.