Less than half of the Met’s special constables are set to qualify for Mayor Boris Johnson’s £150 “council tax cut”.
At the 2012 Mayoral election Mr Johnson promised to cut his share of council tax – £299.00 for a typical Band D household – by “50 per cent” for special constables.
On Thursday his office announced that “all serving special constables who live in the capital will be eligible for a £150 council tax cut, as he delivers on his pledge to reward those uniformed volunteers who support policing.”
Although City Hall refers to a “council tax cut,” officers will actually receive a direct payment from their force which will be funded by the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC).
The payment will be made to officers who serve with the Met, City of London and British Transport Police even though the Mayor only has oversight of the Met and does not fund the other two forces.
A MOPAC briefing sheet confirms the cash will be paid regardless of whether the officer is the household’s council tax payer or whether the person responsible for council tax has all or part of their bill paid for by council tax benefit.
In addition, the payment is capped at £150 meaning those living in more expensive properties will receive a smaller percentage “cut” than their colleagues.
City Hall’s claim that “all serving special constables who live in the capital will be eligible” has been contradicted by official Met statistics provided to this site.
According to Scotland Yard, its workforce data for January shows just 1,300 of the 2,700 specials living in London will meet the criteria for receiving the payment. The force has a total specials strength of 3,972.
The criteria include requirements that officers “have been attending for duty, for the previous twelve months, for the minimum of 16 hours per month on average” and “are in good standing as a Special Constable (ie not subject to any kind of disciplinary process.”
London Assembly member Darren Johnson said the figures “suggest once again that the spin and hype surrounding mayoral announcements tend to outweigh their actual impact.”
Mr Johnson addd: “The fact that City of London special constables are also included in the scheme when City of London policing costs are not covered by the GLA precept highlight the absurdity of one tiny bit of London having its own independent police force. Surely, it’s time to integrate the City of London Police into the Met.”