Capital calls for extra police funding

27 Sep 01
The costs of increased security in the capital following the terrorist attacks on the US will have to be met by London council taxpayers unless the government agrees to a request for extra funding for London's police force.

28 September 2001

Lord Harris of Haringey, chair of the Metropolitan Police Authority, claims that tightened security is putting £1m a week on the annual £2bn police bill.

An extra 1,000 police officers have been drafted in each day to central London, which could rise to 1,500 at the weekends.

Harris has written to Home Secretary David Blunkett seeking an urgent meeting to press the capital's case for more money.

'It is extremely serious. The budget was tight in the first place,' Harris told Public Finance. 'We are fully committed to maintaining the current increased security measures for as long as required but the detrimental effect this is having on our budget must be recognised and addressed.'

If the government does not come forward with additional funding then the costs 'would have to be fed through into council tax bills', he warned.

Currently the average band D council tax bill in London stands at £841.

This is below the English national average of £901 but hides borough variations.

In inner London, the average bill is just £757 though Camden residents pay the highest at £950. The outer boroughs average £889, with Richmond having the biggest bill of £999.

Harris said there were also other, non-financial costs to be met as more police officers in the centre of London inevitably meant there were fewer patrolling the streets elsewhere in the capital.


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