Snipe - The Scoop

Thursday, 11 February 2010

Boris and Kit get touchy feely about police cuts

Kit Malthouse was on LBC this morning blaming Simon Fletcher and the "Labour attack unit" for recent criticism of Boris Johnson's police cuts.

It was all pretty desperate stuff, much like his latest piece of "occasional journalism" in the Standard:

"If you ask Labour or the Liberals how many police officers there are in the capital, they can only answer with a guess. “But Horrid Boris is cutting police numbers” they splutter, trying to imply that he doesn't take crime seriously. What's clear is that the number is actually meaningless to them other than as a political weapon...

Don't let politicians fool you with bogus arguments about numbers. Trust your own eyes and feelings. If you see more cops on the street and you feel safer, then we are getting it right."

Yes don't let those nasty politicians fool you with "bogus arguments" about numbers. Just like these bogus ones unearthed by Dave Hill


500 extra police officers? Funny how Boris's own budget admits there will be 455 fewer police officers.

Still let's not get bogged down in numbers eh? Like these in Boris's policing manifesto:

Currently the [Metropolitan Police Service] employs 73 press staff with salary costs of £3.6 million, and is budgeted to spend £4 million on non-recruitment publicity in 2008/09.40 By reducing the number of press staff to 50, and halving the publicity spend, we will redirect £3.1 million from marketing and spin to frontline policing.

Now by "press staff" the Tories were actually referring to the total staff of the Directorate of Public Affairs.


Some of these were press officers and some not. But at any rate, Boris promised to reduce the number to just 50.

So how's he doing with that?


Hmm. So the total "press staff" has actually gone up to 76. Is that going to change?


It seems not.

Still, let's not get distracted by these "stale" numbers London.

Just put down your newspapers, put your fingers in your ears, and "Trust your own eyes and feelings."


Credit to Andrew Cryan at The Politics Show for spotting the Press Staff figures last week. More on this story at the New Statesman, Comment is Free and Boris Watch

12 comments:

Nick said...

I thought it was the Lib Dems who have been talking about police cuts not Labour.

AdamB said...

Indeed it has been Nick. Easier for him to blame Fletcher and by extension Livingstone though. It's all lies by those nasty commies you see.

Lib Dem London Assembly (press said...

Londoners will come to regret Boris’ cut in police numbers –

Dee Doocey, the Liberal Democrat London Assembly Policing Spokesperson and member of the MPA commenting on the Mayor’s decision to push ahead with his budget proposals to cut police numbers in London

“The Mayor’s decision to cut £16 million from the Police budget, to cut 455 police officers, and to reduce all Borough police budgets, is a slap in the face to Londoners.”

“The Mayor said this morning that “the asset the police has could be put to better use” and I entirely agree. However, he has failed to justify spending £2 million a year to chauffeur senior Met officers to and from work, and to provide first and business class flights for them when they travel abroad. He has failed to justify increasing the amount of money spent on press officers for the Met from £6 million to £7 million, or the £9 million they spend on consultants.”

“The Lib Dem amendment which the Mayor rejected would have increased the number of frontline police officers by 246, and double the number of officers fighting the war on child trafficking.”

Anonymous said...

And, while we're about it, let's not forget that the Met Police Press Office is, if memory serves, the busiest in the UK.

This sounds rather like the rhetoric applied by BoJo et al to City Hall press officers pre-election with comparisons applied to Ken vs No10 where the 'Ken' totals included LDA and TfL but the No10 totals only included the rather small complement at Downing Street.

And, oddly I'm pretty certain we haven't seen a reduction in Press officer numbers at City Hall - rather a reliance on the soundbite that he axed The Londoner - not really the same thing though is it?

I'd love to be the person responsible at the Met for telling one of the Fleet St cut and paste merchants that their questions couldn't be answered because the press office didn't have enough staff to do so.

Oddly several of those who do seem to echo the calls for a reduction in staff in those areas are the same ones that seem to be in the van of calls for more openness - Funny that

AdamB said...

I think there has been a small reduction of press officers at City Hall. I think last time anyone checked they were down by 0.5 press officers!

There's been a bigger reduction at the MPA I think, but not at the Met itself.

On the subject of press officers generally, I have no problem with there being enough to deal with enquiries. However, I do find it strange that there now seems to be more press officers in City Hall than there are actually journalists covering the Mayoralty.

Again, I would have even more sympathy with them if they actually replied to the enquiries I sent to them. Few of them do at the moment.

Of course if Boris held regular press conferences, then we wouldn't need to go through so many press officers.

Tom said...

this is great, and the latest attempt by the tories to persuade people to go with their feelings rather than evidence. (see the recent Economist lead article on the lack of evidence on "Broken Britain", and the damaging policies this leads to.)

Tom said...

this is great, and the latest attempt by the tories to persuade people to go with their feelings rather than evidence. (see the recent Economist lead article on the lack of evidence on "Broken Britain", and the damaging policies this leads to.)

AdamB said...

Indeed. It's the "trust the anecdote, not the evidence" school of policy making.

If your dear friends in the Conservative Party tell you there's more police, then there's more police. Don't bother looking at the evidence.

Anonymous said...

Nick/Adam. I thought all parties opposed Boris's budget and his police cuts? And I thought it was the leader of the Labour group I heard debating the issue with Kit Malthouse this morning. Correct me if I'm wrong.

AdamB said...

Yes all parties opposed the cuts (apart from the Tories of course.)

And Len Duvall was debating the issue with Kit this morning.

I think it's fair to say that the Lib Dems did the running on this issue to begin with though.

Anonymous said...

"Again, I would have even more sympathy with them if they actually replied to the enquiries I sent to them. Few of them do at the moment."

Bet you didn't get a Christmas card either! ;-)

AdamB said...

I think I spoke too soon in any case Anonymous. Within a minute of me posting that comment I got sent the reply included in the post above.

Still no sign of that Christmas card though!