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We could look and shed as much light as we want, but we would find that the answer is nothing, even if we throw in the Mayor's fund and all sorts of things. The crucial thing given London's unique structures-the unique structures that the police authority introduced in London and that Mr. Johnson took over two years ago-is that we were told that London was the crucible. Someone who wanted to see how a future Conservative Government would work in this country was told to look to London. People in London are doing so, which is why, irrespective of whether the count is done on Thursday night or Friday night, Conservative Members might wish to look with interest at how some of the London results go.
Policing is far too important for what the Mayor is doing. There are to be 455 fewer police officers over the next three years, despite his promise that there would be more and that tackling crime was to be central to all that he does. He promised that he would spend more on the police, but for the first time since the inception of the Greater London authority, this year and next year the police budget will decrease. It would decrease by significantly more if it were not for the generosity of the Minister. The only two times that there have been cuts in the level of council tax for police services since the beginning of the GLA are the two years of Boris Johnson, and that is not good enough. He also said, as part of his anti-bureaucratic sway, that the Metropolitan Police Service was fat on reserves and that he would strip out the reserves to the bare minimum and spend the money on front-line policing or in other ways-I believe he cited 26,000 hand-held scanners in his manifesto. However, the MPS reserves, which are preciously needed given the way he is starving them, have increased, rather than otherwise. Again, that is to his shame. Why does that matter? It matters because in each of London's 32 boroughs policing is central to the welfare and security of each of our local communities. Harrow is a relatively safe borough; there has been an excellent roll-out of safer neighbourhood policing and its police are under the excellent leadership of Chief-Superintendent Dal Babu, who is doing a very good job.
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