Hackney Council could use Met’s ‘buy a police officer’ scheme – but only to fund night-time economy patrols
PUBLISHED: 07:00 26 February 2019
The town hall could take advantage of a new Met scheme that allows councils to buy their own police officers at a reduced rate, the mayor has said.
Scotland Yard’s previous “buy-one-get-one-free” scheme will be replaced and councils will instead be able to get extra officers at a 21pc reduction. It is designed to help plug the gap left by devastating government cuts that has seen Hackney lose one in four of its officers since 2010.
Phil Glanville told the Gazette the council was due to speak to the police last year about using the buy-one-get-one-free scheme within the night-time economy (NTE), using £300,000 of late-night levy money, but it was scrapped before any talks were held and the money wasn’t spent.
“They paused their scheme as we were about to talk to them about that,” he said “So we’re interested in talking to them about using it for the NTE team.”
But he said Hackney didn’t have the funding to use the scheme outside of that project, and he preferred what money the council does have to go on its own programmes.
“We don’t have the immediate funding to go out there and fill the gap that’s been left by cuts from government,” he told the Gazette. “We look at how to do it in a targeted way.”
Other councils have used the scheme, but Mr Glanville said Hackney chose instead to fund projects like the Integrated Gangs Unit, CCTV, youth justice, the warden service, and its own intelligence service, which many other councils no longer have.
He added: “We’ve got a really rich team of intelligence especially around gang and youth violence. It could superficially look good to just spend money on frontline bobbies, but actually if they aren’t acting on intelligence it would be a bit of a false economy.”