Magazine article Public Finance

Policing Now Too Expensive, Says Ex-Met Chief

Magazine article Public Finance

Policing Now Too Expensive, Says Ex-Met Chief

Article excerpt

Police forces will struggle to handle declining budgets unless a cross-party consensus is reached on cutting officer numbers, according to the former head of the Metropolitan Police.

Sir Ian Blair told Public Finance that policing had become 'too expensive' and that the make-up of the workforce should be changed to include fewer fully trained police officers. They should be replaced by cheaper community support officers and lower-paid people trained to do tasks such as forensics. A number of other officers, such as those guarding embassies, could also be replaced at a more junior level.

'You don't have to pay them the same rate [if] you employ them as police but they only do that job,' he said.

Blair, who was commissioner of the Met between 2005 and 2008, cited an experiment in Guildford where CTD offices had reduced the number of police officers 'fairly dramatically5 in favour of investigative assistants 'at a much lower cost and increased productivity'.

But the former commissioner said the changes could not be made without crossparty political agreement because 'cutting officer numbers is seen as extremely difficulf. …

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