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LEADERS GO TO SCOTLAND YARD TO DISCUSS A FUNDING CRISIS

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London council leaders meet with senior police chiefs today to discuss what the Association of London Government sa...
London council leaders meet with senior police chiefs today to discuss what the Association of London Government says is an impending funding crisis which threatens to cost the Metropolitan Police more than £200m over the next six years.

Changes in the way the government calculates the spending needs of police forces throughout the country were introduced last year. While forces outside London have generally benefited, the Met has already lost £66m, the ALG says.

It calculates that unless the new funding mechanism - which is based on formulas that take into account crime levels, population and deprivation instead of the number of police officers employed - is changed, the force could lose a further £185m by the year 2002.

'The government boasts that it is making more money available for extra bobbies on the beat, but this is nonsense. In London the reverse is true,' said ALG chair Toby Harris.

'The Met is already under strength. The total number of officers has gone down by 300 since last March and any further reductions are bound to lead to a decrease in its crime fighting capabilities.'

The ALG says that the Met's difficulties are aggravated by the new arrangements because while the percentage of funding based on manpower levels is being phased out by 10% a year, the damping mechanism introduced to minimise the effect of the losses is also being cut each year.

'The result is that the Met is caught in a pincer movement and unless the government takes action, it will not be long before Londoners feel the results of these extremely unfair changes,' said cllr Harris.

The meeting today at Scotland Yard involves six senior London councillors representing the three main political parties and the Metropolitan Police Deputy Commissioner Brian Hayes.

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