Boris Johnson publishes his Crime Manifesto today with proposals for 2,000 more full time police officers. This would mean adding up to three police officers to each Safer Neighbourhood Team. Boris has presided over a 10.8% reduction in crime and he is determined to achieve a further fall.
I'm particularly pleased by the emphasis placed on Special Constables. The number has doubled in the last four years from 2,500 to 5,000. The Manifesto sets the target of doubling the number again to 10,000 and will offer, for the first time in Greater London, a 50% rebate on the Mayor’s share of council tax to Special Constables.
Other policies include:
- Establishing a Safer Neighbourhood Boards in every borough giving local Londoners and victims a greater voice in setting policing priorities, with a £1million fund across London.
- Lobby for legislation to allow me a direct entry scheme to the Met.
- Give local people a direct say in Community Payback.
- Establish a new Sentencing Unit for London with a focus on violence, especially knife crime.
- Maintain funding for the extra police on the transport network which is at risk under Ken Livingstone’s plans to take £1.14bn out of the transport budget.
- Double the size of the Met’s Status Dogs Unit and seek tougher sentences for those using dogs as weapons in Greater London.
"I will take London forward by further strengthening the police and driving a renewed focus on street policing to ensure the capital is one of the safest cities in the world to work and live. I will continue to increase the number of special constables by giving them a rebate on the Council Tax. I will strengthen the role of Safer Neighbourhood Teams by giving Londoners a greater say over policing in their area through new safer Neighbourhood Boards.
"We have made progress despite difficult times. At the Mayoral election on 3rd May this progress is at risk. The choice at this election is between taking London backwards, and my plan to ensure we have the resources to maintain the extra 1,000 police officers I have put on the streets, so that London is not just safer, but also feels safer."
As London is so big the most effective way of making these facts and figures intelligible to voters is to look at the individual London boroughs. Instead of one campaign for Mayor of London there are really 32. The Back Boris website offers a section on each borough.
If you happen to live in Croydon, for instance, under Boris there are 28 more full time police officers and 94 more of the volunteer Special Constables. There are 1,119 more police patrols a month in Croydon now than under Livingstone. Naturally enough people in Croydon are interested in Croydon. That is why the "ground war" of local campaigning in each borough will be what decides the election – not just the "air war" of the media.