Mayor Sadiq Khan today announced that every London ward will have two dedicated Police Officers plus a Police Community Support Officer by the end of next year.
Around 100 of the capital’s “highest-harm” wards already have two PCs but after discussions between the Mayor and Scotland Yard this model will be expanded to all 629.
City Hall says the allocation of a second officer to each ward will help the Met boost relations with local communities and deliver on the Mayor’s pledge to “re-establish real neighbourhood policing.”
The officers will be drawn from existing resources and will be ‘ring-fenced’ from being called away to other duties.
Mr Khan said: “As Mayor, the safety and security of all Londoners is my first priority and this starts with real neighbourhood policing.
“Today, I am very pleased to be able to announce the first significant step towards this, with a second dedicated PC in every London ward.
“Our local officers should be known both to the community and by the community. Their local knowledge helps to prevent and detect crime, and they are the local eyes and ears of our security services.
“They are essential to improving trust and confidence in our police and keeping our communities safe.”
Met Commissioner, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, added: “I’m delighted that we have agreed with the Mayor that we can start to increase the number of dedicated ward officers in the next few months.
“I have long said that neighbourhood policing, and the strong links it gives us to our communities, is the bedrock upon which all our work is based – that’s why we increased the numbers of officers working in our neighbourhood teams in recent years.
“Today’s announcement of more dedicated ward officers means that those links can be strengthened even further.”
Conservatives on the London Assembly have questioned whether Mr Khan’s pledge that the extra officers will be ring-fenced risks limiting the Met’s flexibility.
Spokesperson Keith Prince AM said: “The Mayor has not explained where these redeployed officers – who are already performing duties elsewhere – will come from and what the Met will be sacrificing as a result.
“If, as he says, the officers cannot be moved, how will the Met plan additional policing for events like major protests or festivals?
“Wards with the highest crime rates already have two officers assigned to them – this new policy treats every area of London as the same.
“The Mayor needs to be clearer about how the Met is supposed to adapt to this new system and perhaps think more about the possible consequences.”
Responding to Mr Prince’s comments, a spokesperson for the Mayor said: “The safety of Londoners is the Mayor’s first priority.
“He has agreed this change in close consultation with the Commissioner, who is confident that the increase in dedicated ward PCs, who cannot be routinely called away to other duties, is feasible and will not affect the Met’s ability to respond to major events in London.”