Hard-hitting approach follows similar public awareness drive in Essex.
Following yesterday’s launch of the Met Fed’s CutsHaveConsequences campaign, Chairman John Tully told PoliceOracle.com that something in the police service will break unless changes are made.
The three-month campaign – which includes a hard-hitting video (below) – follows on from a similar drive in Essex, aimed at informing the public of “dangerous” changes to policing.
“This is very much a London campaign but I know many other federations are thinking of doing something similar,” Mr Tully said.
“A national campaign would probably have had more impact but may lose some locality which is important in getting the message across. We are contacting all London MPs, assembly members and the Home Office to raise our concerns, and we urge the public to do the same.”
The video highlights the £1.4 million loss in funding which the Met has faced over the last four years.
“Neighbourhood policing is the key to everything and it is being decimated because officers have so many competing demands,” said Mr Tully.
“The connection with the community is being lost. There used to be one sergeant, three constables and two PSCOs on every ward in London, and now we are lucky if there is one sergeant covering two or three wards.
“They say crime is coming down, but that could be a result of 63 stations being closed and people not wanting to drive 15 miles to report something.”
While overall crime in London has reduced, violent crime – including rape, assaults and murder – rose by 22 per cent in the last year alone.
The impact of budget cuts on the safety of officers themselves is also underlined in the campaign, at a time when there is heightened awareness of the threat to them.
“Since the events in France and Belgium, senior officers have put extra measures in place but we have had feedback from officers saying they don’t feel this is sufficient,” added Mr Tully.
“In the main officers are walking down the street with body armour that is not ballistic proof and might have a baton and spray but if they are on their own they won’t have a taser.
“We recommended we have more double crewing but the Met have said we don’t need to do that yet. We asked for more taser availability which we have been given and for an increase in armoured patrols, to which they have agreed. But you have to remember there are still 750 fewer firearms officers in London than five years ago.”
The Met Police confirmed that it had reviewed the measures it takes to protect the safety of Met officers and the public, but confirmed that no decision has been taken to move automatically to double crewing.
“No decision has been taken to end single patrolling,” said a force spokesman.
“Instead senior officers across London have reviewed and will continue to review procedures as part of our established risk assessment process.
“Our experience of policing London and the UK tells us that our key focus should be on how to prevent attacks. The best way to do this is to engage even more widely with our communities to encourage them to pass on information about individuals who may be behaving in an unusual way or anything they have seen that might give rise for concern.”
Wellbeing of officers is also suffering as a result of budget cuts, Mr Tully added.
He said: “Some detectives have a workload of 20 plus crimes which is unsustainable – how can the number one crime get the same amount of attention as the number 20 crime?
“We are at our limit – in fact we are past it. We are only coping because of the ultimate professionalism of the people working the streets.”
Policing Minister Mike Penning said “there is no question that police will still have the resources to do their important work”.
He said: “The police are making their contribution to reducing the deficit and Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary recently found that forces are successfully meeting the challenge of balancing their books while protecting the frontline and delivering reductions in crime.”
From Police Oracle