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DELEGATION LOBBIES HOME SECRETARY ON RISE IN POLICE BILLS

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An all party delegation of London council leaders from the Association of London Government will meet the home secr...
An all party delegation of London council leaders from the Association of London Government will meet the home secretary today to protest at an estimated rise of 14.4% in the amount which Londoners are forced to pay towards policing costs in the capital.

In the current financial year (1996/97) each London council tax payer contributed£49.84 towards the Met's budget.

But for 1997/8, that amount is set to rise to£57, an increase of 14.4% (average band D figures).

The extra burden on council tax payers arises because, although the government has increased the Met's expenditure limit, it has not agreed to meet all the costs.

At the same time, the number of officers employed by the Metropolitan police has continued to fall - a reduction of 950 over the last three years - despite the prime minister's announcement in 1995 of a government initiative to provide funding for an additional 5,000 police officers nationally.

The delegation of councillors from the ALG, which represents al 33 London boroughs will ask the home secretary for a review of the way in which the Met's budget is set, and an increase in the contribution from central government.

ALG chair Toby Harris, who will be leading the delegation, said: 'Londoners have seen a reduction in police numbers, but are being hit with hugely increased costs.

'We will be urging the home secretary to recognise that when it comes to policing London is a special case.

'The metropolitan police has all the responsibilities of the capital city, over a million commuters each day, huge numbers of tourists from home and abroad, concerts and sporting events, demonstrations, terrorism alerts and planning for emergencies.

'Londoners should not be expected to bear the brunt of government underfunding for policing the capital.'

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