Met Police chief Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe: Increase police numbers, not cut 5,000 officers

Met Police chief: Now is the time to increase police numbers, not cut 5,000 officers
Armed Police keep watch during the France training session at Wembley Stadium (Picture: Clive Rose/Getty Images)

The head of London’s police force wants to double the number of armed officers in the capital following the Paris terror attacks.

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe said he expects to have to slash 5,000 officers from his 32,000-strong force to cope with austerity cuts likely to total £800 million over four years following Chancellor George Osborne’s spending review later this month.

However Sir Bernard did reassure London residents that the number of firearms officers in the capital is being reviewed following the massacres across Paris in which 129 people were killed.

He said London was proud to be one of few mostly unarmed forces around the world; however, the Paris attacks showed the need for change.

The Commissioner told LBC radio: ‘I think what Paris showed us, with so many attackers with so many scenes, moving around at speed … we need to have a mobile reserve. And I’ve got a good idea how that can be achieved.’

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He said he would be announcing the exact details of the plan in coming weeks, but it would involve changes to the number of armed officers.

Currently, only about 2,000 of London’s 32,000 officers are armed.

When asked whether that was enough, Sir Bernard replied: ‘I think at the moment we’re fine.’

He added: ‘What I’ve said is … we’re working on plans now so that in the short period of time we’ve got an extra third on top of the core provision.

‘The armed response vehicle element we’re increasing by a third straight away. But then the overall pool I want to increase by a third and also at any one time, on duty, probably double.’

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But the Commissioner also warned that terrorist activity should not alter a country’s way of life.

He said: ‘What we don’t want to do surely is knee-jerk towards a new type of policing where everyone is armed.’

He added: ‘I think this type of attack shows the police have got to be ready, flexible, and have enough reserves.’

The news comes as police announce that there will be a small presence of armed officers at the friendly football match between England and France at Wembley stadium today.

File photo dated 12/9/11 of Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe who jumped into a taxi to pursue a suspect after the driver complained his passengers refused to pay the fare and had stolen cash from him, the BBC reported. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Monday August 11, 2014. Sir Bernard, who was taking part in a pre-recorded interview with BBC London 94.9 Drivetime presenter Eddie Nestor near Bruce Grove station in Tottenham, north London on the issue of budget cuts, jumped into the taxi in pursuit and later arrested a suspect. See PA story POLICE Commissioner. Photo credit should read: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire
Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe (Picture: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire)

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17 November 2015 | 10:34 am – Source: metro.co.uk

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