Sadiq Khan has warned that government spending plans risk leaving the Metropolitan Police “significantly” underfunded and could put the capital’s safety at risk.
In addition to its neighbourhood policing duties, the Met has to police protests, visits by overseas dignitaries and provide diplomatic protection. These national duties cost the force £345m per year but only around half of this is reimbursed by the Home Office.
Combined with the wider cuts to police funding, Mayor Khan says this under-funding makes it hard to maintain officer numbers and ensure London and the UK is kept safe.
In his first budget, which was approved by the London Assembly this week, Mr Khan has increased his share of council tax to raise an additional £27.8 for policing but says central government also needs to provide extra cash.
Mr Khan said: “As Mayor, the safety and protection of our capital city and all Londoners is my number one priority – particularly in the wake of the recent terrible attacks across Europe and elsewhere in the world.
“This means keeping officer numbers as high as possible with a strategic target of 32,000. But this is becoming increasingly difficult as the Government continues to consistently underfund the Met.
“Ministers’ refusal to reimburse Londoners for work already undertaken to police London as a global capital city, is risking the safety of all Londoners.”
Despite the Mayor’s raising of extra cash, some opponents at City Hall say he could do more to safeguard the Met.
Speaking earlier this week, Liberal Democrat London Assembly member Caroline Pidgeon said the Mayor’s budget plans include “setting up a massive capital reserve to fund a series of projects which he has yet to even clarify.”
She added: “When the Mayor should be concentrating solely on keeping Londoners safe he is instead creating an election war chest.”