Met police challenged on budget cuts crime claim

Date: 
Tuesday, 18 April, 2017

London's Metropolitan Police are playing 'nudge and wink politics' over police budgets, our Director, Richard Garside told this morning's BBC Radio Four Today programme.

His comments came in response to last week's claim by the Met's Assistant Commissioner, Martin Hewitt, that it 'would be... naive... to say that if you cut a significant amount out of an organisation, you don’t have any consequences'.

His comments were widely interpreted as suggesting that cuts to the Met's £3bn annual budget could result in rises in gun and knife crime.

'There's a degree of nudge and wink politics going on here,' Richard told the programme. 'The police are not overclaiming, but they are leaving it open to others to draw the conclusion that cuts in police budgets are going to leave to rising crime rates.'

Knife and firearms offences have been falling across the Metropolitan police area over recent years.

According to data from the Office for National Statistics, in the twelve months to March 2008, the Met recorded 3,396 firearms offences (excluding air weapons). By March 2016, annual recorded incidents were down to 1,556.

Recorded knife and sharp incidents have also fallen, from over 14,000 in 2011/2012 to under 10,000 last year.

These falls in firearms and knife incidents coincided with cuts to police numbers and budgets across the Metropolitan police area.