Cuts in the number of non-warranted police staff will affect the support available to frontline officers, Met Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe has warned.
Speaking at the Superintendents’ Conference earlier this week, the Commissioner said the Met’s need to make £500m in savings would mean “less people” working in the force.
He also suggested that controversial recommendations in the Winsor report that police officers should become eligible for redundancy may be necessary to allow forces to balance their books.
During a question and answer session Hogan-Howe said “at the moment there is no great need for it”, but warned the ban on officer redundancy meant the axe would fall “disproportionately” on civilian and support workers.
He told the conference: “I have to be honest in terms of leading 50,000 people, two thirds of them at the moment are not subject to that possibility. One third are and we’ve already lost 1,900.
“If that’s the only way we can find savings, one it’s going to unfairly and disproportionately affect them, and probably as importantly means that the ones at the front line will not get the support they need.”
Hogan-Howe said this meant “we have to at least keep that option [of officer redundancies] open because I don’t know how we will make savings otherwise.”
London Assembly member Jenny Jones said: “The Commissioner has a point. The focus on cutting police support services and staff may sound a better option than cutting front line police, but not if leads to even more police officers stuck behind desks doing the paperwork.
“We already have around 6,000 Met police officers in roles which could probably be carried out cheaper and just as well, by civilian staff. My fear is that cuts which are made too deep and too fast, will simply make a bad financial situation even worse.”