OVER 200 police officer shifts are being lost from Havering police force every month according to Metropolitan Police statistics.
Data provided to Labour’s London Assembly policing spokesperson Joanne McCartney showed that in 2014, Havering officers were removed from their local beat for 2,488 shifts.
In the first nine months of 2015, the latest period for which data is available, 2,012 neighbourhood policing shifts were lost to abstractions. Across the capital 111,684 shifts were lost in 2014, more than 2,000 a week.
Labour Londonwide Assembly Member, Tom Copley AM said: “When officers are being removed from Havering’s streets 207 times a month it’s incredibly misleading of the Mayor to claim they are local officers.
“Londoners want neighbourhood police to be visible in their communities not pulled off the beat to plug gaps in other parts of London.
“The Mayor’s cuts have meant neighbourhood police teams in Havering have already lost 75 uniformed officers since 2010. To then further reduce local teams by over 207 officer shifts a month damages the capacity of local policing teams to police their neighbourhoods.
“At the heart of concerns set out in the latest HMIC report is a shortage of both police officers and funding with HMIC finding that the lack of trained detectives and basic equipment is undermining their ability to reduce crime and keep people safe. This won’t be helped by regularly removing officers from boroughs.”
The Metropolitan police said that the officer shifts were provided by boroughs to “support London wide Public Order operations.” These kinds of operations generally include large scale events in other parts of the capital.
Commander BJ Harrington from Specialist Crime & Operations said: “Over 3,500 public order events take place across London’s 32 boroughs each year including demonstrations and protests, football matches and ceremonial events. One of our core roles is to effectively deal with any crime and disorder issues associated with such events, by providing a professional, consistent and balanced policing response.
“Our officers provide an essential policing response in the most efficient way possible – by using police drawn largely from across London’s boroughs we do not need to hold a large reserve of officers waiting for operations to happen. It also ensures that officers who are deployed in public order understand the communities they police, an approach which is admired around the world. It is inaccurate to say that they are ‘plugging gaps’; they are supporting local boroughs and neighbourhoods with a specific policing response.”