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Thursday, May 30, 2024

Tory mayoral candidate Susan Hall vows “1,500 new police officers” and halting station closures if elected

Tory mayoral candidate Susan Hall has pledged to recruit 1,500 new police officers and halt police station closures if she is elected.

In an attack on Labour mayor Sadiq Khan, she said the closure of 36 police stations on his watch had been “disgraceful and dangerous”, as officers are in some cases based miles away from the communities they serve.

Mr Khan’s team point out that the previous Conservative mayor, Boris Johnson, closed more than 60 stations during his tenure, and they claimed that Ms Hall’s “sums don’t add up”.

In addition to halting closures, the Tory candidate pledged to set up two new “police bases” in every borough.

The size of the bases would vary depending on the state of existing facilities. For boroughs with existing police stations that are mostly able to meet local needs, the new bases might be small deployments in other parts of those boroughs, Ms Hall’s team said.

Ms Hall said: “Londoners have been forced to watch as Sadiq Khan has shut down police stations, leaving us at the mercy of criminals. Every day, when I listen to Londoners across the city, I hear and feel their fear about spiralling crime affecting them, their families and their local communities.

“If you place your faith in me as mayor, I will stop the closure of any further police stations, open two police bases in every single borough to ensure there is always a police presence local to you, and I will recruit 1,500 new police officers, getting them back on the beat fighting crime.

“It is just not good enough for Sadiq Khan to underfund our police, when he has poured millions down the drain on beach parties, trade union bailouts and PR stunts. No mayor should ever prioritise saving money over saving lives, and that is precisely why we need to vote for change on 2 May.”

Responding, a spokesman for Mr Khan said: “The Tory candidate is making bogus, unfunded pledges she simply can’t deliver.

“The Tories have cut £1bn from the Met budget in real terms since 2010, and the last Tory mayor Boris Johnson closed over 60 police stations when he was mayor. Due to Tory funding cuts, Susan’s Hall unfunded commitments are based on money that simply doesn’t exist.

“This mayoral election is a clear choice between Sadiq investing in 1,300 more police officers and youth clubs in London, or the hard-right Tory candidate who has backed huge cuts to London’s vital public services, and whose sums simply don’t add up.”

Ms Hall has also pledged to give all frontline police access to handheld knife detection wands, with the intention of allowing stop-and-search to be carried out in a more effective, and less invasive way.

She has additionally earmarked £7m to install knife-detection arches in every London school and has promised to appoint a women’s commissioner, whose sole focus will be implementing a strategy to make London safer for women.

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