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Met ‘underfunded for London’s unique demands’

The Metropolitan Police lacks the funding it needs to meet London’s “unique demands”, Sadiq Khan has said.

The mayor has written to Home Secretary James Cleverley to call for an increase in the National and International Capital City (NICC) grant.

NICC is a mechanism provided to the Met to support the additional costs of policing a capital city – including protests, sporting events and diplomatic protection.

The Home Office said the force will receive up to £102.3m more in 2023/24 than the previous year.

In his letter, Mr Khan wrote: “The Home Office’s independent expert review in 2015 identified a £159m annual gap in funding (at 2015 prices) and recent estimates from the [Metropolitan Police Service] suggest it could now be £240m.”

The mayor highlighted the policing of protests and vigils connected to the Israel-Gaza war since October as a strain on police resources. He said 28,000 shifts have been completed in connection with the events.

“These additional costs result in reduced resource available for frontline and neighbourhood teams,” he said.

Officer welfare is also taking a hit, the mayor wrote, with 4,000 rest days being cancelled.

“Many officers have worked every weekend since 7 October and sickness rates are rising, a trend which is likely to continue,” he added.

Mr Khan singled out Just Stop Oil protests as a particular repeated issue for police.

Figures released by the Met this week show 657 arrests were made over the last five weeks at the climate protests, at a cost of £3.5m.

A Met spokesperson said it also resulted in “10,500 officer shifts being taken away from communities”.

“The return of a fully funded NICC would not only benefit our officers but all those who live, work or visit London,” Mr Khan said.

A spokesperson for the Home Office said it is “giving the police the resources they need to tackle crime”.

“The Metropolitan Police will receive up to £3.3b in 2023/24, an increase of up to £102.3m on the previous year,” they said.

“This includes £185.3m in recognition of the increased demands the force faces from policing the capital city.

“We have also provided an additional £75.3m of in-year funding to support the force in managing the costs associated with the 2023/24 pay award.”