March 2013 MQT Answers

Below are the answers to written questions submitted to the Mayor by Joanne in March 2013.

 

Benefit changes in Enfield and Haringey (1)
Question No: 991 / 2013
Joanne McCartney

As you may be aware, Enfield and Haringey are two of four boroughs in London to be subjected to testing the benefit changes in April before it gets rolled out across London later this year. Given that poverty is already at a high in both Enfield and Haringey, do you believe that the benefit cap is going to adversely affect the already hard hit? What will you be doing to monitor this initial roll-out?

Written response from the Mayor
There is a much-increased pot of Discretionary Housing Payment funding available to support vulnerable households affected by the cap. My officers monitor a range of data and information, as well as attend regular meetings with the boroughs and with DWP at which welfare reform, including the benefit cap, are discussed.

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Sapphire Unit (1)
Question No: 1088 / 2013
Joanne McCartney

What are the current supervisory ratios in the Sapphire Unit?

Written response from the Mayor
Officers are drafting a response which will be sent shortly.

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Sapphire Unit (2)
Question No: 1089 / 2013
Joanne McCartney

What proposals are in place to change these supervisory ratios?

Written response from the Mayor
There is no intention to change the supervisory ratios at this time.

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IT training for Recruits
Question No: 1090 / 2013
Joanne McCartney

Can you provide a list of the organisations that have reviewed and approved the Met’s online training packages on dealing with people with mental health issues and learning disabilities?

Written response from the Mayor
The National Centre for Applied Learning Technology’s (NCALT) on-line training on Mental Ill Health and Learning Disability Awareness is national training for all Forces. It was put together in conjunction with subject matter experts from a range of organisations including Mencap, Mind and The Sainsbury Centre for Mental Health. The Department of Health worked closely with the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) and the National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA) and fully endorse this training.

There are a number of other courses which contain Mental Ill Health and Learning Disability Training within them. The content of these has been looked at by Lord Adebowale’s Independent Commission for Mental Health and Policing, which is due to report in April 2013.

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Operation Nexus/Terminus (1)
Question No: 1091 / 2013
Joanne McCartney

Is it the case that Met officers have been trained to assess the immigration status of those in custody?

Written response from the Mayor
Officers are drafting a response which will be sent shortly. 

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Operation Nexus/Terminus (2)
Question No: 1092 / 2013
Joanne McCartney

If Met officers have been trained to assess immigration status of those in custody please outline where do these officers come from – central command, or Borough teams? Please provide a breakdown of the proportion of officers trained from central command or borough-based teams.

Written response from the Mayor
There are currently 100 borough based MPS officers attached to the Operation Nexus Custody work strand across London. The officers are directed, trained and supported centrally to undertake their Nexus roles. 

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Operation Nexus/Terminus (3)
Question No: 1093 / 2013
Joanne McCartney

If Met officers have been trained to assess immigration status of those in custody please outline the direct support these officers are receiving from the United Kingdom Border Agency (UKBA)?

Written response from the Mayor
MPS officers do not assess an individual’s immigration status. This is a matter for the UKBA. 

An automatic computer function cross-references all fingerprints inputted into the Livescan fingerprint recognition system with the UKBA’s database. If an individual arrested for a main stream criminal offence is highlighted by this process as being a foreign national of UKBA interest, then the UKBA will advise MPS officers as to the next steps to take.

In the case of an individual who is identified as being illegally in the UK at the time of their arrest, it is the responsibility of the UKBA and not the MPS to action next steps. This will be done either via the dedicated UKBA staff in the custody suites or via ‘call out’ support.

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Operation Nexus/Terminus (4)
Question No: 1094 / 2013
Joanne McCartney

How many UK Border Agency staff are currently working in custody suites in London?

Written response from the Mayor
UKBA have undertaken to embed staff in MPS custody suites aligned to Operation Nexus. The role of the UKBA staff is to focus on any immigration concerns that may arise when an arrested individual is identified as being a foreign national of UKBA interest.

A process of recruiting 60 full-time immigration officers for the Operation Nexus in London is under way. In the meantime, there are currently 60 to 80 UKBA officers working in custody suites. The number fluctuates as additional support is sought when required.

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Operation Nexus/Terminus (5)
Question No: 1095 / 2013
Joanne McCartney

Is it the case that all individuals now taken into custody have their immigration status checked?

Written response from the Mayor
Yes this is the case. The fingerprints of all offenders arrested for mainstream criminal matters in London are now automatically cross-referenced into UKBA, via the Livescan system.

If an individual is identified through this automated process as being a foreign national of interest to UKBA, UKBA will advise MPS officers as to the action required.

In the case of an individual who is identified as being illegally in the UK at the time of their coming into police detention, trained UKBA staff will take over the progressing of this aspect, in line with that agency’s expertise and primacy in such matters.

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Operation Nexus/Terminus (6)
Question No: 1096 / 2013
Joanne McCartney

Under what circumstances would a victim of crime or a witness to a crime have their immigration status checked by the Metropolitan Police?

Written response from the Mayor
Victims and witnesses are not routinely screened against UKBA systems.

However, there will be certain circumstances where the nationality or status of a victim or witness may be pertinent to the investigation of the offence, for example in human trafficking cases. In these situations there are long-standing arrangements with UKBA around the supportive handling of victims and witnesses.

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Operation Nexus/Terminus (7)
Question No: 1097 / 2013
Joanne McCartney

What effect is this Operation having on the confidence of BAME groups and migrant communities in the police?

Written response from the Mayor
The community engagement work undertaken by the MPS, as outlined in Question Number 910/2013, has highlighted that community feedback to date has been positive at the introduction of Operation Nexus. Any community concerns raised have been addressed directly with the respondents. Londoners understand that Operation Nexus targets serious or prolific offenders who are foreign nationals to reduce the risk they pose and not law-abiding members of our communities.

The MPS will continue to engage, brief widely and update on the progress of Operation Nexus as it moves forward and will always seek to mitigate any emerging community concerns.

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Operation Nexus/Terminus (8)
Question No: 1098 / 2013
Joanne McCartney

Please provide a copy of the Equality Impact Assessment that was done on Operation Nexus/Terminus?

Written response from the Mayor
Please see Appendix 1 for the Equality Impact Assessment compiled by the MPS for internal operational use.

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Operation Nexus/Terminus (9)
Question No: 1099 / 2013
Joanne McCartney

How much is Operation Nexus/Terminus costing?

Written response from the Mayor
The actual costs incurred on Operation Nexus from July 2012 to the end of February 2013 were £2.1 million.

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Operation Nexus/Terminus (10)
Question No: 1100 / 2013
Joanne McCartney

Is it the case that the MPS plans to roll out Operation Nexus on a permanent basis? If so, what evaluation is being done of Operation Nexus to support these plans and through what mechanisms is this evaluation been carried out?

Written response from the Mayor
Operation Nexus will remain a MPS corporate priority.

The MPS Central Operation Nexus team have been conducting an evaluation of the custody work strand. This is being concluded and its findings will be shared with stakeholders and communities.

UKBA are also conducting their own review of the custody project, policy and procedure in the custody suites for embedded staff.

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Operation Nexus/Terminus (11)
Question No: 1101 / 2013
Joanne McCartney

Please answer both parts of this question
a) How many police officers from foreign forces are currently seconded to the MPS under Operation Nexus?
b) Are these officers operating within boroughs or are they part of a central command?

Written response from the Mayor
There are no officers from foreign forces currently attached to Operation Nexus? 

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Operation Nexus/Terminus (12)
Question No: 1102 / 2013
Joanne McCartney

What evaluation is being done on the success of using officers from foreign forces within the MPS, please will you share the results of this evaluation

Written response from the Mayor
As stated in response to Question Number 1101/2013 there are currently no officers from foreign forces seconded to the MPS under Operation Nexus.

Previously there have been officers from two European Countries working with the MPS under Operation Nexus. 

Evaluation from both the countries concluded that closer and more effective working is of considerable benefit to the MPS and European Union countries. As a result, this has led to a European Union funding bid (overseen by MOPAC) and exploration of Joint Investigation Teams working closely with Europol. The evaluation will be made available taking into account the sensitivities of providing data for external release as the focus of the operation is targeting criminality.

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Police Safer Neighbourhood Boards
Question No: 1103 / 2013
Joanne McCartney

You have previously stated that your proposed safer neighbourhood boards will deal with police complaints. Do you envisage these boards having a purely monitoring role or a decision making role as is proposed by the Police and Crime Commissioner for Avon & Somerset who has announced a residents’ panel will determine whether complaints are to be investigated or not?

Written response from the Mayor
As laid out in my manifesto, Safer Neighbourhood Boards will monitor complaints against officers in their borough, alongside crime performance and confidence. They will have no power to investigate individual complaints or make decisions on outcomes.

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Section 50 Police Reform Act 2002 (1)
Question No: 1104 / 2013
Joanne McCartney

Can you please provide a breakdown of stops made by the MPS under Section 50 for the past 3 financial years, including 2012/13 to date?

Written response from the Mayor

Section 50 of the Police Reform Act 2002 provides as follows:

50(1) If a constable in uniform has reason to believe that a person has been acting, or is acting, in an anti-social manner (within the meaning of section 1 of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 (anti-social behaviour orders)), he may require that person to give his name and address to the constable.

50(2) Any person who –

(a)  fails to give his name and address when required to do so under subsection (1), or
(b)  gives a false or inaccurate name or address in response to a requirement under that subsection,

is guilty of an offence.

Any person who is arrested for failing to provide their true name and address may be arrested under the standard arrest provisions of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984.

The MPS does not centrally keep records of the use of the section 50 requirement to provide information.

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Section 50 Police Reform Act 2002 (2)
Question No: 1105 / 2013
Joanne McCartney

Can you please provide a breakdown of arrests made by the MPS under Section 50 for the past 3 financial years, including 2012/13 to date?

Written response from the Mayor
Please see my response to MQ 1104/ 2013.

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Section 50 Police Reform Act 2002 (3)
Question No: 1106 / 2013
Joanne McCartney

Can you please provide a breakdown of stops made by the MPS under Section 50 for the past 3 financial years, including 2012/13 to date, broken down by ethnicity?

Written response from the Mayor
Please see my response to MQ 1104/ 2013.

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Section 50 Police Reform Act 2002 (4)
Question No: 1107 / 2013
Joanne McCartney

Can you please provide a breakdown of arrests made by the MPS under Section 50 for the past 3 financial years, including 2012/13 to date, broken down by ethnicity?

Written response from the Mayor
Please see my response to MQ 1104/ 2013. 

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PR for Estate Strategy(1)
Question No: 1108 / 2013
Joanne McCartney

Do you think Londoners will agree that it is reasonable for you to spend £800,000 on PR promoting the sell-off of local police stations?

Written response from the Mayor
Officers are drafting a response which will be sent shortly.

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PR for Estate Strategy(2)
Question No: 1109 / 2013
Joanne McCartney

How many police officers over three years would £800,000 pay for?

Written response from the Mayor
The comparison is not valid.  The MOPAC/MPS Estate Strategy is an extensive process that involves reviewing upwards of 500 buildings in the MPS estate and any expenditure linked to it will help to deliver a reduction in estate revenue costs of up to £60m annually.  Spending linked to the Estate Strategy has been absorbed in existing Property Services Department budgets. 

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Food Poverty in Enfield (1)
Question No: 1110 / 2013
Joanne McCartney

Following your response to Question No: 591 / 2013, I understand that the three year scheme from the Mayor’s Fund for London and Magic Breakfast aims to be implemented to all schools in the capital where at least half of pupils qualify for free school meals. Could you tell me when you expect the scheme to be rolled out to schools in Enfield?

Written response from the Mayor
The Mayor’s Fund for London’s work with Magic Breakfast is the first phase of a breakfast club programme. It plans to ultimately roll-out across London to schools with over 50 per cent free school meals or equivalent social deprivation indices. The aim of the first phase is to reach 5,000 children in 50 primary schools over the next 3 years in the London Boroughs of Hackney, Islington, Lambeth, Lewisham, Newham, Southwark and Tower Hamlets. 47 schools have already registered with 1,672 children receiving free, healthy breakfasts as a result of this scheme which was launched in January this year. The Mayor’s Fund is developing a roll-out strategy for the next phase of the scheme, including a supporting fundraising plan, and its resources will continue to be focused on areas of deprivation and disadvantage. It will consult with the GLA to prioritise areas to take part in the next phase. This consultation will include a review of Enfield, alongside other London boroughs not already included in the scheme. 

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Food Poverty in Enfield (2)
Question No: 1111 / 2013
Joanne McCartney

Do you believe that when the benefit changes are implemented this April, food poverty will increase in Enfield? What work have you done to understand the impact of benefit changes on the levels of food poverty in Enfield and across London?

Written response from the Mayor
I am conscious that Londoners are facing a lot of pressures on their budgets, including on the money they have available to buy food. My London Food Board, chaired by Rosie Boycott, is aware of the potential for food poverty to increase, and is working with a number of partners on projects that will help people in London to continue to have access to healthy food. I know that the Food Board’s work will be informed further by the findings of the report on food poverty in London which will be launched later this month by Fiona Twycross AM on behalf of the London Assembly Health and Environment Committee. 

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Food Poverty in Haringey (1)
Question No: 1112 / 2013
Joanne McCartney

Following your response to Question No: 591 / 2013, I understand that the three year scheme from the Mayor’s Fund for London and Magic Breakfast aims to be implemented to all schools in the capital where at least half of pupils qualify for free school meals. Could you tell me when you expect the scheme to be rolled out to schools in Haringey?

Written response from the Mayor
The Mayor’s Fund for London’s work with Magic Breakfast is the first phase of a breakfast club programme. It plans to ultimately roll-out across London to schools with over 50 per cent free school meals or equivalent social deprivation indices. The aim of the first phase is to reach 5,000 children in 50 primary schools over the next 3 years in the London Boroughs of Hackney, Islington, Lambeth, Lewisham, Newham, Southwark and Tower Hamlets.  47 schools have already registered with 1,672 children receiving free, healthy breakfasts as a result of this scheme which was launched in January this year. The Mayor’s Fund is developing a roll-out strategy for the next phase of the scheme, including a supporting fundraising plan, and its resources will continue to be focused on areas of deprivation and disadvantage. It will consult with the GLA to prioritise areas to take part in the next phase. This consultation will include a review of Haringey, alongside other London boroughs not already included in the scheme. 

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Food Poverty in Haringey (2)
Question No: 1113 / 2013
Joanne McCartney

Do you believe that when the benefit changes are implemented this April, food poverty will increase in Haringey? What work have you done to understand the impact of benefit changes on the levels of food poverty in Haringey and across London?

Written response from the Mayor
I am conscious that Londoners are facing a lot of pressures on their budgets, including on the money they have available to buy food. My London Food Board, chaired by Rosie Boycott, is aware of the potential for food poverty to increase, and is working with a number of partners on projects that will help people in London to continue to have access to healthy food. I know that the food board’s work will be informed further by the findings of the report on food poverty in London which will be launched later this month by Fiona Twycross AM on behalf of the London Assembly Health and Environment Committee.

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Child Poverty – Enfield & Haringey
Question No: 1114 / 2013
Joanne McCartney

The End Child Poverty Campaign published new figures in February 2013 for child poverty in London which contained some shocking figures, particularly for Enfield and Haringey. What action are you taking to address the appalling numbers of children living in poverty in London?

Written response from the Mayor
The main and best ways of tackling child poverty are through promoting jobs and growth across London, driving up skills through apprenticeships, and tackling low pay through the London Living Wage. My part–time jobs campaign will also contribute by ensuring that quality, well paid part-time jobs are available to London’s parents.

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Child Poverty in Enfield
Question No: 1115 / 2013
Joanne McCartney

Enfield has the sixth highest number of children living in poverty within London according to the report published by End Child Poverty this month with 29 per cent of children in Enfield below the poverty line. Do you expect figures to increase once the benefit changes are implemented in April? What action are you taking to mitigate the effects of benefit changes on the most vulnerable?

Written response from the Mayor
I have won significant concessionary measures to ease the transitional period of welfare reform, including more funding for boroughs and households affected by the changes. This includes £25 million for London in 2012/13, and an expected £115 million over the next two years. I have also secured exemption from the total benefits cap for nine months for those who lose their job.

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Child Poverty in Haringey
Question No: 1116 / 2013
Joanne McCartney

Haringey has the joint-third highest number of children living in poverty within London according to the report published by End Child Poverty this month with 30 per cent of children in Haringey below the poverty line. It is estimated that 1880 households with children in part time work in Haringey will lose £3,870 a year in working tax credits, affecting 500 children in the borough as a result of the benefit changes coming into effect this April. Do you expect figures to increase once the benefit changes are implemented in April? What action are you taking to mitigate the effects of benefit changes on the most vulnerable?

Written response from the Mayor
Please see my response to MQ 1115 / 2013.

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Housing Benefit in Enfield (1)
Question No: 1117 / 2013
Joanne McCartney

Enfield is facing the third biggest increase at 29 per cent across London in the number of people renting in the private sector who are claiming housing benefit. Do you think that this shows that living in the suburbs of London is becoming increasingly unaffordable?

Written response from the Mayor
No.

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Housing Benefit in Enfield (2)
Question No: 1118 / 2013
Joanne McCartney

Do you agree with the shadow member for housing in Enfield that the Council “needs to start exploring the option of housing families in cheaper areas outside the borough and outside the M25”, moving people away from their families, work and local communities?

Written response from the Mayor
Please see my response to MQ 1024 /2013.

http://mqt.london.gov.uk/mqt/public/question.do?id=45888 

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Benefit changes in Enfield and Haringey
Question No: 1119 / 2013
Joanne McCartney

As you may be aware, Enfield and Haringey are two of four boroughs in London to be subjected to testing the benefit changes in April before it gets rolled out across London later this year. Given that poverty is already at a high in both Enfield and Haringey, do you believe that the benefit cap is going to adversely affect the already hard hit? What will you be doing to monitor this initial roll-out?

Written response from the Mayor
See response to MQ 991 /2013.

http://mqt.london.gov.uk/mqt/public/question.do?id=45855 

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Benefit changes in Haringey
Question No: 1120 / 2013
Joanne McCartney

Haringey already has high levels of deprivation and competition for jobs, the third-highest eviction and repossession rate in the UK and is one of 10 local authorities that will be hardest hit by the total benefit cap. The roll out of the Benefit Cap in Haringey is expected to affect more than 1,000 households. What preparations have you undertaken to ensure that my local residents are not going to become homeless as a result of the benefit changes?

Written response from the Mayor
I have won significant concessionary measures to ease the transitional period of welfare reform, including more funding for boroughs and households affected by the changes. This includes £25 million for London in 2012/13 and an expected £115 million over the next two years. I have also secured exemption from the cap for nine months for those who lose their job. 

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Gritting icy roads
Question No: 1121 / 2013
Joanne McCartney

A resident has written to me to complain that not all roads are gritted at the same time in the same when it is icy as a result of TfL gritting red routes and the Local Authority being responsible for the rest. The resident asks whether it would be better for TfL to pay the Local Authority to grit the red routes at the same time. What are your views on this suggestion? What liaison and joint-working is there between TfL and local authorities before and during periods of icy weather?

Written response from the Mayor
I absolutely agree that there are significant efficiencies to be gained by the sharing of resources between boroughs and TfL in this kind of area. The new London Highway Alliance contracts have been designed specifically to realise these efficiencies and I would encourage any borough not already committed to participating in those arrangements to consider the benefits that the pan London Alliance might bring.

With regards to liaison and joint-working, TfL already facilitates the London Winter Service Practitioners Group, where participating boroughs and TfL can learn from each other and explore a variety of initiatives. By following published best practice guidelines each authority will liaise with its neighbours over its Winter Service policies and its treatment plans to ensure they are coordinated and consistent. 

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Welfare reform and refuge services
Question No: 1122 / 2013
Joanne McCartney

Women’s Aid believe that the cap on housing benefit will affect their services detrimentally as the refuge service will have to chase individual survivors for rent rather than it coming direct to the landlord, some housing costs would be met and others not, and some survivors receiving refuge rent via Universal Credit for dual housing costs (rents for a former home and for the refuge service) would inevitably be capped, and others not (estimated 45% survivors receive this). What action will you take to ensure that these vital services in London are not detrimentally affected by the cap on housing benefit?

Written response from the Mayor
Please see my response to MQ 1120/ 2013. 

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Welfare reform and loan sharks
Question No: 1123 / 2013
Joanne McCartney

With a number of people affected by the welfare reforms, and the disproportionally high number of betting shops and loan sharks in Haringey, what further action are you taking to ensure that we will not see an increase in people turning to these to recover money lost?

Written response from the Mayor
Please see my response to MQ 3756 / 2012.

http://mqt.london.gov.uk/mqt/public/question.do?id=44048 

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Impact of welfare reforms on women
Question No: 1124 / 2013
Joanne McCartney

As the income for many Londoners will decrease as a result of the benefit changes being implemented in April 2013, childcare being already unaffordable for many and public sector pay restraints and cuts disproportionately affecting women, what action are you mitigate the effect of welfare reforms on women?

Written response from the Mayor
Please see my response to MQ 1115/ 2013. 

My aim is to improve opportunities for women to gain well-paid employment, including through my part-time jobs campaign. 

Safer Neighbourhood Bases (1)
Question No: 1125 / 2013
Joanne McCartney

Please provide a list of all Safer Neighbourhood Bases across London, broken down by Borough outlining which Safer Neighbourhood Teams are based there and whether they currently have a front counter open to the public.

Written response from the Mayor
As part of the consultation on the draft Police and Crime Plan I have been consulting with the public on the local policing model, including Safer Neighbourhood Teams. Consultation on the draft Plan ended on 6 March and the results are currently being considered. 

The final Plan will be published before April 2013 and this will include details of where Safer Neighbourhood Teams will be based. 

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Safer Neighbourhood Bases (2)
Question No: 1126 / 2013
Joanne McCartney

Please provide a list of all Safer Neighbourhood Bases across London, broken down by Borough outlining whether the base is currently in use or not.

Written response from the Mayor
As part of the consultation on the draft Police and Crime Plan I have been consulting with the public on the local policing model, including Safer Neighbourhood Teams. Consultation on the draft Plan ended on 6 March and the results are currently being considered. 

The final plan will be published before April 2013 as part of which details will be given where Safer Neighbourhood Teams will be based.

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