Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Budget Cuts Could Spark Crime Rise, Says Met Chief

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Budget Cuts Could Spark Crime Rise, Says Met Chief

Article excerpt

Byline: Justin Davenport Crime Editor

CRIME levels in London could rise because of current and future budget cuts, a police report reveals today.

A senior Scotland Yard official warns that police will struggle to tackle youth violence, robbery and burglary unless efficiency is improved.

Cutbacks also mean police are scaling back a central anti-burglary operation to deal with a rise in youth violence.

The report reveals the Met is planning to recruit 900 fewer officers by next year than originally planned.

The alert about the possible effect of the government spending review cuts which will be announced next month is the first by a senior Scotland Yard figure.

A rank and file police leader recently warned that possible cuts could lead to a "Christmas for criminals" because of falling police numbers.

The report, which will go before a Metropolitan Police Authority meeting tomorrow, reveals that the Met failed to meet 12 key targets in the first quarter of the 2010/11 financial year.

Robbery is up by 5.8 per cent and knife crime by a 4.1 per cent. A rise in the number of youth murders this year compared with last year is also worrying senior officers. The study also records the first increase in thefts from cars in 11 years.

The rise in robbery is being driven by a 10 per cent surge in knifepoint muggings where youths claim to be armed with a knife. Police point out that the number of offences where people are injured with a knife is falling.

The quarterly performance report by the Yard's director of resources Anne McMeel also states that officers are failing to hit detection rate targets in robbery, car crime, household burglary and racist and homophobic crime. The report states: "Both in-year cuts and future grant reductions could well challenge further these performance levels if efficiency is not improved."

Ms McMeel says the "effect of budget restraint has been seen in our ability to reach the target" for ethnic minority recruits because of a recruitment freeze expected to last until next year.

The report declares that the Operation Bumblebee initiative against burglary has cut the number of household break-ins by nearly 10 per cent in the first six months of the year. …

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