ISSUE: Policing Response Times                               

Emergency response times fall as police numbers crisis bites

Falling police numbers mean that the proportion of emergency calls in Wandsworth being answered within the target time of 12 minutes has slumped from 83 per cent a year ago to 68 per cent today.

Wandsworth has lost 100 police officers in the last five years. The new policing formula adopted by the Metropolitan Police Authority (MPA) sets the borough total at just 550 - below the current budgeted target of 586.

The Chairman of the Metropolitan Police Authority Lord Harris has already acknowledged the scale of the problem and has said that times could be cut by single manning of police response cars. There are fears that officers would be exposed to safety risks, and a shortage of vehicles could result from such a policy.

Council leader Edward Lister said the deterioration in the 999 service was the latest example of how the London-wide shortage of police officers was affecting crime victims in Wandsworth:

"The Home Secretary must be aware that he simply cannot keep a police force starved of officers and expect them to go on coping at the same level they have always done. We have also heard recently that our local police are so busy that they no longer routinely investigate petrol station drive-aways.

"I am aware of at least two planned raids recently which could not go ahead as planned. These were joint operations targeting long-term graffiti vandals. Both were put off because of police shortages. These are all examples of the intolerable pressures our local police are under. The council will go on doing everything in its power to support the police but no one will be satisfied until we see more police on our streets."

Falling number of police in the area

Local crime reports by ward updated weekly


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