‘More police funding needed to keep public safe from terror attacks’, senior Met officer warns


One of Britain’s top police officers has warned the Metropolitan Police force will need more funding to keep London safe from further terror attacks.

Met deputy commissioner Craig Mackey said the recent Westminster and London Bridge atrocities had “put a lot of stretch” on the force – and added the whole of the Met, not just counter-terrorism policing, needs more funds.

His warning was reiterated by London’s deputy mayor for policing and crime, who said she was “incredibly worried and concerned” that the ongoing budget cuts will put London’s safety at risk.

The two policing experts were today quizzed by a London Assembly committee on whether the force has enough money to keep the capital safe.

It comes after the Met was forced to make £600 million of savings over the past four years and is set to make £400 million further savings by 2020-21

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Metropolitan Police commissioner Cressida Dick (right) and Deputy commissioner Craig Mackey (PA)

Speaking to the London Assembly’s Budget and Performance meeting on Tuesday, Mr Mackey said the recent terror attacks stretched the Met “across the system” and not just in the force’s counter-terror command.

He explained in the recent terror attacks, the ability to mobilise lots of officers “really, really quickly” is what helped the Met’s response.

Sophie Linden, London’s deputy mayor for policing and crime, said: “We are incredibly worried and concerned that if we carry on with the level of budget cuts we are facing we won’t have the level of resources we need to really keep London safe and secure.”

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Armed police on Borough High Street after the June 3 attack. (PA)

She urged Prime Minister Theresa May to drop the funding formula for policing, which she said was “damaging London”.

Mr Mackey told the committee: “If you don’t understand how the system works, unfortunately then you end up with gaps along the way.

“It’s very challenging to see policing just as a group of discreet services. Counter terrorism is ring fenced and protected, but it requires the whole of the policing system to work.

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Deputy commissioner Craig Mackey, left. (Hannah McKay/Reuters)

“In the true spirit of the Met police and in the true spirit of London they are coping incredibly well, but they are working incredibly hard to keep us in that position.”

The senior officer described the Met’s response to Khalid Masood’s terror attack in Westminster on March 22 and said for every £1 the force had spent on the counter-terrorism investigation, £2 had been spent in mobilising officers.

He added: “If you say ‘It’s all right, I’ve ring fenced this particular budget so that part of the service is fine’ those discreet capabilities probably are, but if you need to mobilise large numbers of officers, if you need to mobilise firearms officers, and other capabilities, you have to treat policing as a system.”

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Increased patrols: Extra armed police were stationed at Tube and train stations across London following the Westminster attack. (Getty Images)

He emphasised the whole force needs extra funding, adding: “You have to fund and support funding for the whole system. It’s akin in my analogy to funding just one part of the health service.”

The meeting came in the wake of the Westminster, Manchester Arena and London Bridge attacks which left 35 people dead and dozens more injured.

Last week Mayor of London Sadiq Khan voiced his concerns over the lack of police funding in the capital, slamming plans to cut at least £400 million from the Met’s budget which he said would reduce the force’s strength by up to 40 per cent.

The Labour Mayor warned the funding cuts would translate to around 12,800 constables.

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