I continue to pick up many concerns about criminal and anti-social behaviour, despite the long-term (and very welcome) fall in overall crime over many years. So it is surprising to note the very significant fall in police numbers in the last four years.
In the summer of 2011, there were 1902 police officers and PCSOs in Westminster. This figure has dropped to 1269 by April 2014. This represents a reduction of 633- or almost one third! The number of police staff has also fallen by 60 over the last two years, which can mean uniformed police having to cover work previously done by support staff.
We have been promised an uplift this year, which if fulfilled in total, would return us to 1364 officers - or around what we had in 2012 and still 268 down on the 2010 figure. But so far, additional recruits have gone into a new West End team to deal with crime and nuisance in the West End economy - all fine, but not very much help to the neighbourhoods in Bayswater or other residential communities. Two of our police stations closed in the summer of 2013, and were promised extra front line staff as a result of a shift from buildings to boots on the ground. Despite the best efforts of many dedicated officers, we are still waiting for the improved service levels which were meant to be part of the package.