Mayor Sadiq Khan has been forced to backtrack on suggestions that previous government funding cuts risk hampering the response to terrorism incidents in the capital.
On Wednesday morning Mr Khan issued a press release calling on the Government “to reverse years of underfunding and use the autumn Budget to make sure the police and security services have the resources they need to keep the public safe.”
The release, which was issued as the Mayor appeared before London Assembly members, repeatedly mentions last week’s attempted bombing at Parsons Green Tube station and claims “Londoners’ safety will be put at risk” if recent spending cuts aren’t reversed.”
It quotes the Mayor as saying: “The cowardly terror attack at Parsons Green station highlighted once more the courage and selflessness of our emergency services, who ran towards danger whilst directing others to safety.
“But it also highlighted the unprecedented demands on our police service, and how they desperately need proper funding to tackle new threats and keep us safe.”
However questioned by Assembly Members, Mr Khan admitted the Met has never been denied the resources needed to respond to incidents such as at Parsons Green.
Asked by Tory AM Tony Arbour: “When the incident occurs, it could never be said, in your experience, that the response by the police and the security services was lacking because of a lack of resources?”, the Mayor said: “In, unfortunately, the four incidents we’ve had in London since I’ve been the Mayor, the response has been fantastic. I’ve no criticisms at all.”
Mr Khan added that local neighbourhood officers, whose numbers are said to be under threat from funding cuts, serve an important role as intelligence gatherers for the security services.
Met Assistant Commissioner Martin Hewitt, who was appearing alongside the Mayor, said while the force could use more capability to process digital evidence such as mobile phone footage, it has always been able to deal “effectively” with incidents.
Asked: “Has there ever been an occasion when the MPS has had to request extra resources and it it has been denied to them?”, Hewitt replied: “Not to my knowledge.”