Number of East End cops to fall, London Assembly member warns

POLICE officer numbers are set to fall in the East End, London Assembly Member John Biggs has warned.

Mr Biggs, the local assembly member for City and East, claims the Met is losing 100 officers a month but that no one is being replaced.

He said the force could have 1,000 fewer police officers by the end of the year.

The fall in officer numbers comes as the Met tries to cope with an estimated �100 million cut to its budget.

Mr Biggs, chairman of the Assembly Budget Committee, described the reductions as very worrying.

He said: “One of Boris Johnson’s first moves was his plan to cut hundreds of officers from the Met. Now we are seeing the combined effect of his and the Government’s cuts and it’s very worrying.

“Tower Hamlets saw record numbers of police officers recruited over the last ten years as crime and the fear of crime fell but this is now very much threatened by these unnecessary cuts.”

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In March 2010 there were 33,318 Met officers but in December the MPA forecast there would be a reduction of more than a thousand officers by March this year. There are currently 808 police officers in Tower Hamlets.

Met deputy commissioner Tim Godwin told the London Assembly’s budget and performance committee this week that the service is initially focusing on cutting costs through support functions, information technology, buildings and vehicles - to avoid the need for frontline cuts.

He also told the committee how the Met hopes to cut its estates budget by a quarter by moving out of traditional police stations, which are costly to maintain.

People could instead access “front counter” high-street services while officers and custody suites would be based elsewhere, Mr Godwin said.