Gareth Thomas MP asked the Minister for Policing and Criminal Justice in yesterday's debate (07.01.13) about his opinion on the impact of the decrease in police numbers:
Mr Gareth Thomas (Harrow West) (Lab/Co-op): A freedom of information answer from the Metropolitan police revealed that some 4,000 front-line police officers covering the London boroughs had been lost during the Government’s first two years in office. How does the Minister think that that is helping to tackle gang violence and antisocial behaviour—which is causing growing concern—and does he think that it may have contributed to the riots in any way?
The Minister's response:
The Minister for Policing and Criminal Justice (Damian Green): No, I do not think that, and nor does anyone who has investigated the riots. I want to make an overall point about policing in London, which is extremely difficult but hugely important not just to Londoners, but to the whole country. In this time of financial stringency, the reason for which the hon. Gentleman will understand —it is because of what his Government did—recorded crime in the Metropolitan police area over the past 12 months was down by 3%. London is becoming safer. I wish that Opposition Members who have raised this matter a lot would look at the facts of what is happening on our streets—they are becoming safer.