Boris Johnson’s Special Constable pledge in tatters as numbers plummet

The Mayor of London’s promise to “double the number of Special Officers to 10,000” looks to be in tatters after the Met’s latest figures showed that there are now only 3,253 Specials in the capital, 43% fewer than in May 2012 when he made the pledge. In Enfield the number fell 35% from 156 in May 2012 to only 101 in December 2015 and in Haringey, the number fell 46% from 148 to only 80.

Special constables are volunteer police officers with all the powers of police officers. The falling number of special constables comes on top of significant cuts to the number of police community support officers (PCSOs) over the past few years. Met statistics show that in Enfield since 2010, 131 PCSOs and 37 Police officers have been cut from the streets, 22% of the original number. The numbers are worse in Haringey as since 2010 91 PCSOs and 122 Police officers have been cut from the streets, 25% of the original number. Labour London Assembly Member for Enfield and Haringey Joanne McCartney, warned that the cumulative impact of the drop in Specials, PCSOs and police officers risks leaving a “much reduced police force for his successor.”

When the Mayor was re-elected in May 2012 there were 5,677 Specials in London, according to the latest figures there are now only 3,253. The figures represent an embarrassing failure for the Mayor who previously said that Specials represented a ‘vital link’ between the police and the public.

Labour London Assembly Member for Enfield and Haringey, Joanne McCartney AM said:

“In 2012 Boris recognised the significant role Special Constables play in providing an important link between the police and public and bolstering our police service. Despite his promise to double their ranks what we’ve actually seen is a dramatic and continuing fall in the number of Special Constables, including in Enfield which has seen a 35% decline. At this rate he may well have less than half of what he started with by the time he leaves office.

“With PCSO and police officer numbers also in decline, the falling number of Specials should be of real concern. Boris should be asking why the Met is failing to attract enough people, is it because the opportunities are not well enough advertised or is the increasing pressure facing the police putting people off?

“Between the drop in Special and PCSO numbers, Boris looks set to leave a much reduced police force for his successor.”

ENDS

 

Notes

  • Figures on Police Officer and PCSO numbers can be found here.
  • A breakdown of the decline in Special Constables between 2012 and 2015 can be found below:

 

Month-Year Enfield Special Constables MPS Total
May-12 156 5,677
Dec-15 101 3,253
Decrease in Special Constables since May 2012 55 2,424
% loss 35% 43%

 

Month-Year Haringey Special Constables MPS Total
May-12 148 5,677
Dec-15 80 3,253
Decrease in Special Constables since May 2012 68 2,424
% loss 46% 43%


Source: Met datastore, accessed 02 March 2016

  • A breakdown of the decline in Police Officers and PCSOs between 2010 and 2015 can be found below:

 

Enfield MPS Total
Officers May 2010 590 33,147
PCSOs May 2010 166 4489
Uniformed Officers May 2010 756 37,636
Officers Dec 15 553 31,612
PCSOs Dec 15 35 1,663
Total Uniformed Officers Dec 2015 588 33,275
Police Officer Number decline since May 10 37 1,535
Police Officer % decline since May 10 6% 5%
 
PCSO Decline since May 10 131 2,826
PCSO % Decline since May 10 79% 63%
 
Uniformed Officer Decline May 10 168 4,361
% Uniformed Officer Decline 22% 13%

 

 

Haringey MPS Total
Officers May 2010 731 33,147
PCSOs May 2010 113 4489
Uniformed Officers May 2010 844 37,636
Officers Dec 15 610 31,612
PCSOs Dec 15 22 1,663
Total Uniformed Officers Dec 2015 632 33,275
Police Officer Number decline since May 10 122 1,535
Police Officer % decline since May 10 17% 5%
 
PCSO Decline since May 10 91 2,826
PCSO % Decline since May 10 81% 63%
 
Uniformed Officer Decline May 10 213 4,361
% Uniformed Officer Decline 25% 13%

Source: Met datastore, accessed 02 March 2016

  • In his 2012 Crime Manifesto, available here, Boris Johnson wrote “I will aim to double the current number of Special Constables further to 10,000. Their remit will be to work in the evenings, on the transport network and with Safer Neighbourhood Teams.” (page 13)
  • In the same document the Mayor said Specials were a “vital link between the police and the public, strengthening the consent and support on which the police rely.” (page 13)