By Marcus Leach
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson today (Monday) promised to relentlessly pursue extra funding to protect police from cuts and boost police numbers across the capital, as he joined a Safer Neighbourhood Team in Shepherds Bush to mark the launch of the new Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime.
Today London has become the first city in the UK to have an elected Mayor with unequivocal responsibility for overseeing the police. The Mayor's existing powers to setting police priorities have been significantly strengthened, with the rest of the country set to elect their Police and Crime Commissioners in November 2012.
The Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPC) has replaced the Metropolitan Police Authority, which means the Mayor and the Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime will hold the Met Commissioner to account and ensure that the police target the crimes that concern Londoners, including:
- Strengthening the Met’s response to serious youth violence including knife crime
- Ensuring London has enough front line police officers on the streets
- Targeting robbery, burglary and drug dealing in every borough
- Getting tough on gangs and tackling re-offending rates
The Mayor was accompanied on patrol in Shepherd’s Bush by Nick Herbert, the Minister for Policing & Criminal Justice, Bernard Hogan-Howe, the Met Commissioner and Kit Malthouse, the Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime.
“Protecting our police force and getting more officers out pounding the streets is more crucial than ever," Mayor Boris Johnson said.
"We’ve taken thousands of knives off the streets and prioritised youth violence, but we need to do even more to crackdown on criminals. Londoners rightly expect to live in a safe city and I’ll now be keeping an even closer eye on every aspect of policing, ensuring more than ever that the crimes that most concern Londoners are addressed.“
The Mayor will personally oversee the policing budget and will meet the Met Commissioner on policing issues in the capital. The Mayor has appointed Kit Malthouse to lead the work of the Mayor’s Office for Crime and Policing, which will manage an annual budget of £11 million.
“I’ll continue to push for long term crime prevention in youth violence, street robbery, drugs, burglary and gangs," Kit Malthouse the Deputy Mayor for Policing said.
"These are the crimes people fear most and that we will target relentlessly. We’ve been strengthening the fight against crime over the last few years. Crime is lower and police officer numbers are up. I promise this new office will further boost our plans to get more uniformed warranted officers back on the beat, keeping our streets safe.”
In Shepherds Bush this morning the Mayor met with local police officers who have successfully cut the numbers of residential burglary, criminal damage and cycle theft in the area through dedicated patrols targeting known hot spots.
Key areas of work of the MOPC will be:
- Operational Policing and crime reduction - including the 2012 Olympics and Paralympic Games, Counter terrorism, stop and search
- Gangs - ensuring the Met Police effectively reduce gang crime and violence in London and co-ordinating support for communities and local organisations to tackle gangs
- Criminal Justice - preventing reoffending, reducing crime and decreasing demand within the criminal justice system and tackling alcohol and drug abuse
A Police and Crime Committee consisting of 12 elected members of the London Assembly will scrutinise the work of MOPC and meet regularly to question the Deputy Mayor of Policing and Crime.
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