The London Assembly have asked for assurances that police numbers will not fall as it became clear that Boris Johnson will implement the first real-terms cut in their funding for years.
With inflation growing, Boris's planned 1.25 per cent growth in the police and fire budget will mean a real terms shortfall of £72 million.
According to the Assembly's pre-budget report:
"Kit Malthouse AM acknowledged the scale of reductions that will be necessary, telling us that he expected grants to remain ‘on the floor’ in future years, and confirmed to us that this would mean the Metropolitan Police Authority would be looking for ‘big ticket’ savings in 2010/11 and 2011/12.
There are no detailed efficiency proposals to support the MPA’s savings targets, and there is as yet no evidence to demonstrate that the targets are achievable through genuine efficiencies rather than service cuts."
Because for all the spin before the election about the GLA being 'mired in waste' the much-promised 'big ticket savings' have so far not been found.
For an example of this just think back to this promise made shortly after winning the election:
Boris Johnson, the new Mayor of London, is to slash advertising budgets for the Greater London Authority, including the Metropolitan Police and Transport for London, to pay for more police on the capital's streets.
Reiterating his manifesto promise, Johnson said that funding of £16.5m for an extra 440 police community support officers to patrol buses and Tube stations will come from cutting Transport for London's advertising budget.
So what happened? Take a look at today's report:
The Mayor’s manifesto pledged to fund these officers by reducing the Metropolitan Police Service’s communications budget. However, this has not proved to be possible and the funding will now be provided by Transport for London.
And with Malthouse's promised 'big-ticket savings' still hiding in the wings, it remains to be seen just what cuts will now need to be brought out to the front line.