Not content with topping the tables in failing to provide affordable housing in London, the City is also the least safe borough for police. While the City’s figures – and Westminster’s, the borough placed second in the table – are inflated due to both of them attracting a disproportionate number of visitors compared to other boroughs, the number of attacks per 100,000 residents in the City was not that far south of five times its neighbour Westminster.
The matter was the subject of an article entitled The most dangerous London boroughs to be a police officer by Qasim Peracha in My London News, of 7 January 2020:
Last year, there were more than 31,000 Metropolitan Police officers serving London, and around another 750 in the City of London.
Their jobs are to deter and solve crimes and keep the city as crime-free as possible.
But over the period of a year, from June 2018 to May 2019, more than 5,000 police officers were attacked while simply carrying out their jobs.
Figures obtained by MyLondon through the Freedom of Information Act show that just over half of those attacks on police officers (2,661), resulted in the constables being injured.
One reason for the disproportion number of attacks on police in the City of London would seem to be a lack of public confidence in a rather anachronistic force. In our view the biggest problem the City of London Police face is having the Court of Common Council acting as their police authority. If this was changed to a more regular form of oversight, then police officers in the City would be both safer and better able to carry out their duties because people would have greater faith in them. While the Court of Common Council is elected this is mostly on undemocratic business votes, rather than by residents, something very different to how police and crime commissioners are chosen elsewhere in the UK.
The current deputy chairman of the council’s police committee is James Thomson and there are questions still to be answered about his vote – and that of Christopher Hayward also on the police committee – in favour of granting planning permission for Taylor Wimpey’s The Denizen on the site of Bernard Morgan House, a City of London Police property sold to developers at what many see as an inflated price. Aside from the potential conflict of interest over attempting to fix a blown police budget, Thomson and Hayward – and another councillor Sir Michael Bear (now retired) – also have yet to explain why they felt able to vote in favour of planning permission for The Denizen despite roles at firms who worked with Taylor Wimpey.
Ongoing issues with the police budget combined with the undemocratic set up at the City of London council and other matters, work in a synergistic way to undermine public confidence in the current system of oversight for the City of London Police. It would be better both for the officers in the City police, and Londoners generally, if the City of London force was merged with the Metropolitan Police. The recent news that the City’s Police Authority Board are planning to sell off and lease back Wood Street and Snow Hill police stations only adds to the impression that the City of London council having its own police force is yet another square mile anachronism that urgently requires reform. For more on the proposed sell offs and lease backs of Wood Street and Snow Hill stations see Police Stations In Square Mile Close by Owen Sheppard, City Matters #114, 9-21 January 2020, page 1 & 2 (not online at the time we posted this blog).
Below is a list of the most dangerous boroughs to be a police officer, ranked from most safe to most dangerous. Note City of London is at the bottom, the most dangerous borough for police.
The most dangerous London boroughs to be a police officer by Qasim Peracha, My London News, of 7 January 2020. https://web.archive.org/web/20200111200636/https://www.mylondon.news/news/west-london-news/most-dangerous-london-boroughs-police-17521242