Met’s community police officers down by two-thirds since 2015

While the Home Office ramps up the demands on the police service in the capital and maintains its pretence that there are “more police officers in England and Wales than ever before”, official figures show that there are 64% fewer safer neighbourhood police officers in London than in 2015.

Cops out: London’s neighbourhood police have seen two in every three posts cut

Theresa May, when Home Secretary, was notorious for axing 20,000 police across England and Wales in that first flush of the 2010 coalition government enthusiasm for austerity measures.

Recent recruitment drives have only redressed that balance – often with PCSOs, the part-timer “Hobby Bobbies”, stepping up into full-time roles and leaving behind them other, unfilled vacancies.

Now figures obtained from the House of Commons Library show that in 2015 the Metropolitan Police employed 6,459 safer neighbourhood officers. In 2022, there were 2,310.

As a consequence, the Met Police are “reacting to crime, not preventing it”, according to a London MP.

The average decline in safer neighbourhood officer across England and Wales in that same period has been 27%.

Sarah Olney, the LibDem MP for Richmond Park, commissioned the research, which has found the drop in officer numbers coinciding with the closure of more than 100 police stations in London, most of which were sold off when Tory Boris Johnson was the Mayor.

Met check: Sarah Olney MP

“The Met’s frontline teams have been decimated over the past eight years,” Olney said in a BBC interview.

“We’ve seen fewer and fewer police walking our streets, instead blue lights come screaming in whenever there’s an incident. They’re reacting to crime, not preventing it.

“Burglaries, muggings and car thefts aren’t stopped by response units.

“It’s the fear that an officer could be round the corner at any moment that deters crime.”

Only five other forces out of 42 across England and Wales have seen a greater fall in neighbourhood officers than in the Met.

  • If you have a news story about life in or around Croydon, or want to publicise your residents’ association or business, or if you have a local event to promote, please email us with full details at
  • As featured on Google News Showcase
  • Our comments section on every report provides all readers with an immediate “right of reply” on all our content
  • ROTTEN BOROUGH AWARDS: Croydon was named among the country’s rottenest boroughs for a SIXTH successive year in 2022 in the annual round-up of civic cock-ups in Private Eye magazine

About insidecroydon

News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email
This entry was posted in Andy Brittain, Crime, Knife crime, Policing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply