More police means extra £60m bill

7 Dec 00
London local authorities could be forced to levy higher council taxes to finance Mayor Ken Livingstone's £60m plans to boost the Metropolitan Police.

08 December 2000

The Association of London Government said it was 'concerned' about the mayor's plans to add an extra 60p on every household's council tax bill to fund more beat officers and a package of pay rises.

The extra cash will be included in the 32 boroughs' precepts, which partially fund the Greater London Assembly and are collected through council tax bills.

'There is some concern from the boroughs that the extra funds will go on their bills, particularly at a time when they are trying to keep council tax levels down,' said a spokeswoman for the ALG. 'But crime is an issue and we want to see the capital well policed. We have regular meetings with the mayor and will ensure that our concerns are taken on board.'

In one of his first budget announcements since winning office in May, Livingstone said the £60m package would stem both a growing recruitment crisis in the Met Police and an increased fear of crime among the public.

A spokesman for the GLA stressed that the mayor would be working in partnership with the Metropolitan Police Authority to ensure that up to 1,050 extra officers are recruited by March 2002 and to encourage more black and Asian officers.

He also wants more effective use of staff and is planning wage rises of up to 10% to make police desk jobs more attractive to civilians and free more than 200 officers to return to beat policing.

'My first budget will essentially be a budget for policing,' said Livingstone. 'I am determined to provide increased resources for more police on the beat working with local communities.'

But while Sir John Stevens, the Metropolitan Police commissioner, welcomed the mayor's extra resources as 'helping to make the capital safer', in reality it will only dent his projected 4,000 officer shortfall.

Stevens said recruitment was now reaching crisis point and has been damaged both by the Macpherson report into the death of Stephen Lawrence and rising house prices.

He called on the government to intervene and increase pay and conditions 'very quickly'.

The GLA will decide whether to accept Livingstone's police package by February 16, 2001.


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