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FOI Request Seeks Answers from Mayor on Threats to Police Funding

October 29, 2008 5:28 PM

Tom Brake MP, Lib Dem London and Home Affairs spokesman, is calling on London's Mayor Boris Johnson to come clean on Police funding following rumours circulated in the press in the last few weeks about possible cuts to police numbers.

The Evening Standard revealed on Monday that Boris Johnson could slash the number of police. This news followed reports by BBC London on the 28th September that the Mayor may cut the Police budget.

Unhappy with the lack of concrete information about discussions within the Mayor's office about police numbers and police budgets, Tom Brake MP made a Freedom of Information Request on the 2nd October to ask the Mayor more details about the cuts and on budget plans for the Metropolitan Police Service for the next three years. The legislation requires a response within 20 working days (before the 30th October). He is still waiting for a response.

Tom Brake said, 'The only information we have about possible cuts is coming from the press. I urge the Mayor to be open about what he has discussed behind closed doors and to confirm or deny rumours of cuts to Police funding. If cuts are on their way, the Mayor will need to explain why these will not affect Londoners' security'.

According to the Evening Standard, the Mayor could replace 'hundreds of qualified officers with civilian staff'. 'The plan would see civilian staff brought in to replace trained officers in back-room jobs, such as police station receptions, custody suites and date-input'. The Mayor has also 'refused to rule out a drop in frontline policing'.

After the London Assembly Liberal Democrats obtained figures, Mr Brake is worried that with 18 Boroughs already failing to meet police recruitments targets last month, leaving those Boroughs a total of nearly 200 (exactly 197) police officers short, any cuts will lead to London being severely under-policed.

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