Met chief Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe: London at risk as Scotland Yard faces £1bn budget cuts
The safety of London is at risk from budget cuts which could mean the loss of up to 8,000 police officers in the capital, the head of Scotland Yard said today.
Met chief Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe said his force was faced with massive spending curbs of around £1 billion over the next four years.
He declared the savings would mean huge cuts to front line officers and warned they could damage the Met’s ability to prevent and respond to a major terrorist outrage.
His comments, in an exclusive interview with the Standard, mark the first time he has spoken out in detail against austerity measures which have already seen the force make £600 million in savings.
The Met’s policing budget is expected to be reduced by £800 million or more over the next four years in a spending review to be announced next month. A new funding formula for police forces could also mean a further £180 million cutback in its annual budget, as revealed by the Standard yesterday.
Sir Bernard said: ”It’s a lot of money and a massive change and as a result of that I genuinely worry about the safety of London.
“We think we can expect to lose somewhere between 5,000 to 8,000 police officers.”
He added: “For the past four years we have taken cuts in budget and we have just got on with it. We have not waved shrouds - we are the only force to have kept police officer numbers up, today they stand at about 31,800.”