Livingstone, Bromley and police numbers

In my disgust at Livingstone’s personal attack on Eddie Lister I failed to pull him up on the wider point he was trying to make.  He was in Bromley last week trying to get people excited about the “loss of police numbers” in the borough.  The problem for Livingstone is the numbers just don’t add up (for him).

In April 2008, just before Boris became Mayor, Bromley had 488.6 Police officers (FTE – Full Time Equivalent) as of May this year the Borough has 505.26 Police officers (FTE).  In addition to this the borough has 128 Special Constables and 147 PCSOs.

Because of the move to single patroling the borough also enjoys around 3,000 extra police patrols per year and the fact that the borough also has the largest number of police cadets in the city should ensure a healthy supply of new recruits for the future too.

Livingstone also seems to have overlooked the expansion of the the Safer Transport Teams meaning Bromley has 5 sergeants, 9 PCs, 17 Specials and 31 PCSOs and the 50 strong British Transport Police team based on Bromley South railway station paid for by TFL.

Like the Labour groups failed attack at last month’s MQT, Livingstone has scored a huge own goal bringing up policing in Bromley as a campaign issue.

7 responses to “Livingstone, Bromley and police numbers

  1. Let's not forget that the Darwin ward in Bromley, is one of the safest in the whole of London.

  2. James,

    The issue of Police numbers has been a bone of contention amongst Bromley residents for years – basically the good old Bromley resident is being shortchanged when it comes to Police numbers and has been for years – by both Boris and Ken.

    The allocation of Police Officers to each borough is made by the senior officers at Scotland Yard and the Metropolitan Police Authority (MPA) in line with something called the Resource Allocation Formula – something which is basically utter gibberish and no-one understands how it works! The end result is that Bromley is well and truly shafted!

    Bromley, at 60 square miles and the largest London borough, has approximately 480 Police Officers assigned to it (you may claim 505, but in a recent interview the Borough Commander said that he was about 30 officers 'over-strength' and would be losing these over the next year or so).

    Westminster at 8.5 square miles has 1,555 Police Officers assigned to it (got to keep those expense-fiddling MPs safe you know!). The 6.3 square miles of Hammersmith and Fulham has 551 Police Officers assigned to it. The 4.7 square miles of Kensington and Chelsea has 541 Police Officers assigned to it. Other boroughs, although I don't know their geographical size – Lambeth 900 officers, Southwark 880 officers, Camden 800 officers, Haringey 699 officers and Brent 684 officers.

    The politicians are always going on about the 'bobby on the beat' and this is one of the current Commissioner's favourite issues – a 'visible police presence'.
    Well the Bromley council tax payer gets a total of 8 (yes EIGHT) Police Officers per square mile for their hard earned money, by far the lowest number of any borough (size of borough divided by number of Police Officers). Take away what those officers who work in CID and the 'visible police presence' is actually even less!

    The Westminster council tax payer gets 182 Police Officers per square mile – no wonder all the politicians closeted away in their central London silos think that there are plenty of police officers about, they probably can't step out of City Hall without tripping over one!. The Islington council tax payer gets 119 Police Officers per square mile. In Kensington and Chelsea they get 115 Police Officers per square mile. In Tower Hamlets they get 100 Police Officers per square mile. In Lambeth they get 91 Police Officers per square mile. In Hammersmith and Fulham they get 87 Police Officers per square mile. In Camden they get 72 Police Officers per square mile.

    The above is nothing short of disgraceful – the Bromley council tax payer is being ripped off by the MPA and their political stooges in Scotland Yard, who flood politically sensitive or more 'fashionable' boroughs with Police Officers at the expense of the less fashionable boroughs.

    At the end of the day the day the MPA are ineffective, they have no idea what goes on in the great swathes of silos operating centrally from Scotland Yard, which are totally unaccountable and have massive budgets whilst the boroughs are being squeezed until the pips squeak. The top cops at Scotland Yard are arrogant and out of touch, a bunch of highly politicised senior Police Officers closeted away in their silos, concerned only at their career progression. Shockingly these are the two bodies of people who ultimately decide how many Police Officers are allocated to each borough.

    The Bromley council tax payer pays vast amounts of money into the MPA and yet gets pathetically low police numbers in return.

    Boris Johnson was elected Mayor of London due to the “doughnut” of outer London boroughs that voted for him and yet has done nothing so far to right this grave injustice to the Bromley residents – you might think he would start paying attention to it, seeing as his brother's the local MP in the area.

  3. Excalibur,

    You would have to be a bit of a doughnut to compare police numbers in terms of geographic size of the area. Darwin ward is 11.2 square miles, to meet the Westminster figure for police numbers per square mile you would need over 2000 police spread across Darwin ward, that's one police officer for every house in the ward!

    Bromley has a crime rate 20% that of Westminster and half that of Lambeth, Islington or Camden. It is entirely right that the Met assign police where the crime takes place, not across the fields of Kent.

  4. Jimmy,

    Although Bromley has a relatively low crime rate, as a result of this under resourcing each Police Officer in Bromley is expected to deal with an average of 53 crimes, the highest number of any borough (number of crimes divided by number of Police Officers).

    In Tower Hamlets each officer only has to investigate 35 crimes. In Lambeth each officer only has to investigate 37 crimes. In Hackney each officer only has to investigate 38 crimes. In Haringey each officer only has to investigate 38 crimes. In Kensington and Chelsea each officer only has to investigate 39 crimes.

    This nothing short of disgraceful. The Bromley taxpayer deserves a fair deal.

  5. Well at least you are now using sensible comparible figures, but I took at look at the crime figures and used your figures for numbers of police and I get much less differentiation:
    Bromley: 46 crimes per officer
    Lambeth: 40 crimes per officer
    K&C: 39 crimes per officer
    Westminster: 41 crimes per officer

    Based on this I will agree that Bromley police may well be under resourced (the large number of police cadets may partially alleviate this situation), but you should not base you claim purely on geographic spread and expect a police officer guarding every house in Darwin Ward.

  6. I expect a fair share of resources – resources which the Bromley tax payer has paid for.

    How will the large number of police cadets alleviate this situation in any way? My understanding from the police website is that these are 14-19 year old children? What next, include the number of Cub Scouts when totting up a borough's visible police presence?! Are you sure you're not a politician, Jimmy?!

  7. Okay, I misunderstood James's point on cadets. (clearly not a politician as I make mistakes sometimes and even aknowledge that).

    In defining fair share you need to use a fair comparison. Geographic area is not fair, officers per crime is. Perhaps James would like to tell us why Lambeth should have 15% more officers per crime than Bromley? Is this something that you are trying to improve for Bromley residents or is your main focus on questioning Livingstone's maths?

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