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Ken Livingstone met the BA strikers yesterday and tweeted about how "strong unions mean higher investment."

He has also launched a petition which reheats the Labour Party's spurious claim that the Mayor of London Boris Johnson is cutting police numbers.

The petition says:

“We call on the Metropolitan Police Authority and the Mayor Boris Johnson to reverse the decision to cut 455 police officers and guarantee the future of London’s dedicated 630 safer neighbourhood police teams.”

Labour groups across the capital have been talking up this so-called “Tory cut in police numbers” since the beginning of the year. Deputy Mayor for Policing, Kit Malthouse, wrote a letter to local newspapers during the election campaign which explained the situation:

"Your readers will have seen claims from Labour that Boris is 'cutting' police numbers by 455 over the next three years. Total nonsense of course. I know that Londoners are fed up with arguments about police numbers and crime statistics but I need to correct this slur.

The total number of people holding a full Metropolitan Police warrant card at the moment is 37,295 -the highest number in the history of the Met. By 2012 this number is forecast to rise to 39,351 – an increase of over 2,000.

This includes a huge expansion in the number of Special Constables, who spend all their time patrolling, especially in the evenings when we need them most.

The 455 number arises from a sensible efficiency plan that we have implemented which involves moving officers out from behind desks and onto the streets – this has been distorted by Labour who have voted in favour of this measure at the Police Authority!

No one can doubt Boris's commitment to the safety of the capital. In his first two years in office we have seen the number of teen killings fall by half. There is still a lot of work to do though and we hope you will start to see even more changes in the months to come.

9 comments for: Livingstone’s false claim on police numbers

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