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Police Grant Report

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Prime Minister – in the House of Commons at 2:24 pm on 3rd February 2010.

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Photo of Tony McNulty Tony McNulty Labour, Harrow East 2:24 pm, 3rd February 2010

Because Boris Johnson is not; because crucially, Ken clearly said to the electorate during his four years, "I am increasing the police precept for London by x and here is what you are going to get for it in terms of safer neighbourhood teams." Boris has said to people-again this is typical flim-flam-that he is going to freeze the GLA precept, but he has told them nothing about the consequences of that, especially for the Metropolitan police. My right hon. Friend rightly points out that the only moneys that Harrow and elsewhere in London are getting that are new in any way, shape or form are coming from central Government and the settlement that we are discussing today, which the hon. Member for Bury St. Edmunds so blithely dismisses in the same way as he done for the past three and a half years-it could have been the same speech.

This matters, especially in respect of capital, because my right hon. Friend is announcing significant millions more in capital for London. Boris intimated, at least when he was in campaign mode, that the new police station that Harrow needs, as opposed to what it has in south Harrow, will be built. That proposal has been scrapped. Any notion of significant growth in the capital spend for London has been scrapped, and that matters throughout London, because if the custody suites are not in the right place, more policemen and women are driving around London looking for somewhere to put the people that they have in the back of their cars. It matters, in terms of rolling out safer neighbourhood teams properly, that they have a base out in the communities, rather than in Fort Apache style police stations.

I really fear a mix involving playing politics on the data-shame on the hon. Member for Epsom and Ewell, who is at it yet again. As I said the last time I was on my feet in this House, I would not get a route map to the Home Office if I were him, because I do not think he is going to end up there, even in the stark, worrying times that would arrive if the Conservative party got into power. This matters because when someone plays politics with police resources and policing policy, they play politics with people's lives in a way that is unforgivable. It is easy to get on a soap box and scare people. I say very clearly that Harrow is one of the safest boroughs in London, not least because of the investment that has been made during the past 10 to 13 years and because of what Ken Livingstone did as Mayor on rolling out safer neighbourhood teams. I want it to stay that way.

My biggest fear is that through Boris Johnson's rank incompetence, the Metropolitan police will, because such a large budget is involved, have to start to make cuts by picking into either the specialist squads to tackle fraud, rape and a series of other very important pan-London issues or the safer neighbourhood teams. If the lasting legacy of Boris Johnson's mayoralty is the unpicking of the settlement on safer neighbourhood teams throughout London, that would be to his shame. We have made significant progress on policing in London, and nationwide. For that to continue, the hon. Member for Bury St. Edmunds needs to get off the soap box and join a cross-party initiative to put policing at the centre of what our politics-rather than our partisan politics- is about.

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