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LONDONERS ASKED TO PAY 25% MORE FOR FEWER POLICE OFFICERS

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Council tax payers in London are facing a 25 per cent increase in the cost of paying for policing in the capital - ...
Council tax payers in London are facing a 25 per cent increase in the cost of paying for policing in the capital - despite a serious shortage of officers.

Now following a meeting with Scotland Yard officials over their annual budget, the Association of London Government has called on the home secretary to examine the value for money offered by the Metropolitan Police.

The Met receives most of its funding from the government, but every council tax payer also contributes an amount through the 'police precept'. The Met intends to increase this by 25.4 per cent for the coming year, which will mean an extra£14.50 on a Band D Council Tax bill.

The ALG is also concerned about a shortage of officers. The Met expects to have a total strength of 26,800 officers at the end of March, a shortfall of 600 on the Met's own target announced a year ago.

'It is clear that Londoners are being asked to pay more for less, and we are very unhappy about it,' said ALG policing spokesman Derek Sawyer.

'The major problem is that the Met is spending more than the government says it should, so that government grants make up a smaller percentage of the total police budget. It then falls on the council tax payer to make up the difference.

'However, it is totally unsatisfactory for the precept to rise by 25 per cent - more than eight times the rate of inflation - at a time when councils are doing all they can to keep council tax rises to a minimum. The fact that the Met is so seriously understrength is really rubbing salt into the wound.

'The rise in the precept last year was more than 14 per cent, and such increases cannot be allowed to continue. In the absence of a police authority for London it is up to the home secretary to make sure that the Met offers good value for money, and I have today written to him to ask him to do so.'

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