Boris Johnson today denied that he will reduce the number of police officers in London, despite proposing to do just that last week.
The Mayor's budget consultation unequivocally states that:
Over the three years to 2012-13, the number of Police Officers is forecast to decrease by 455, while PCSOs remain the same and Special Constables increase by 2,690.
Yet when Liberal Democrat Assembly Member Dee Doocey, put this to him today he told her that she was "completely wrong."
Boris: That's not my understanding of what's happening to police numbers...Dee Doocey: It appears under your signatureBoris: And there have never been more police on the streets of London than at any time in out history...Dee : [Passes a copy of Boris's budget along] Can you pass that to the Mayor?Boris: Our objective is to get them onto the streets...Dee: I'm sorry I'm going to pass you a copy of your budget.[John Biggs puts the sheet on Boris's desk. Boris looks straight ahead]Chairman: Is there anything else that you would like to add to your answer?Boris: No I think that Dee is completely wrong...Dee: It's in your budget
The Mayor's denial appears to rest on the claim that the Met's current "civilianisation" programme will increase the proportion of police officers brought out on to the streets.
However, how the Met chooses to use it's officers is a separate issue to how many officers the Mayor is actually prepared to pay for.
As Dee Doocey said after today's meeting:
"The last thing London needs is a reduction in police numbers, but that is exactly what Boris Johnson is planning to do. It adds insult to injury that the Mayor even denies this is going to happen, despite the proposed cuts clearly set out in his own draft budget!"London needs a Mayor who understands the need to sustain police officers and is aware of the proposals in his own budget. Sadly under Boris Johnson we have neither."
When Gordon Brown suggested that Boris would cut the police budget and police numbers, Boris accused him of misleading the house.
In reality Boris has now done both.