IslingtonTribune

The independent London newspaper

Crimes under £50 face snub from police

Mayor of London insists policy doesn’t mean officers are ‘throwing up the white flag’ to criminals

26 January, 2018 — By William McLennan

Sadiq Khan: ‘What you will now have is honesty and transparency from the police’

A NEW policy advising officers not to investigate lower level crime has led to claims that the Mayor of London is surrendering to criminals.

But Sadiq Khan defended the Met’s “crime assessment process”, in which officers are told to ignore thefts valued under £50 and not to spend more than 20 minutes reviewing CCTV.

He insisted the policy was not police “throwing up the white flag” to criminals. Mr Khan added: “It’s a continuation of the triaging that’s always taken place by the police service.”

Senior officers say the policy formalises a long-standing practice of concentrating resources on more serious offences, allowing greater honesty and transparency.

But critics fear it will lead to an increase in crime.

Internal Met documents, released under Freedom of Information laws, show that officers have been issued with a flow chart, instructing them when not to pursue an investigation.

Theft or criminal damage under £50 will not be investigated and other crimes, unless a suspect has been identified, might be dropped if there is not a “clear image of the suspect and offence” on CCTV.

Officer are provided with an evolving list of “mandatory crimes” that will always be investigated, including murder, rape and “any offence which leads to substantial financial gain or loss to any person”. Hate crime, domestic violence and all sexual assaults are also exempt from the assessment process.

Labour’s Andrew Dismore, a member of the London Assembly, said the number of crimes potentially affected by the police was “pretty concerning” and blamed the new policy on cuts to the Met’s budget by the Conservative government.

He added: “It looks to me like most crimes will not be investigated at all.”

Gareth Bacon, the leader of the Conservative group at the London Assembly, said that the mayor “consistently overstates the Met’s financial difficulties”, adding: “The force should not reduce its investigation of low-level crimes.”

Mr Khan said: “What you will now have is honesty and transparency from the police, where as in the past you may have been led to believe there will be a huge amount of police resources spent to investigate a crime which will probably be not solved. The police will now try to be honest and candid with you.”

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