London police warn recession will boost crime
LONDON (Reuters) - Londoners are becoming more likely to burgle shops and beat up their partners because of the worsening economic downturn, one of the capital's top policemen said on Tuesday.
"We are expecting from previous experience that we will get an increase in areas of criminality such as retail crime, business crime," Scotland Yard's Acting Deputy Commissioner Tim Godwin told members of London's city assembly.
"We have already seen a small increase in domestic violence."
Last month, incidents of non-residential burglary rose 2.1 percent from the previous month and domestic crime increased 13.5 percent, Scotland Yard's website said.
Godwin's comments came when he was asked to explain to the London Assembly how the Metropolitan Police Service would handle a proposed 472-million-pound cut in its budget during the next three financial years.
Savings would be found in information technology, training, court initiatives and human resources, he said.
The deputy chairman of the Metropolitan Police Authority, Kit Malthouse, said that front-line police numbers would not be affected despite the 9 percent budget cut.
"There will be the same number of officers but they will be better (deployed)," Malthouse said.
He said discussion over headline numbers in terms of the capacity to fight crime was a stale debate and that a different model should be used.
Specialist custody officers would be recruited and trained to fill in detention records, allowing about 550 police to be redeployed, while money would also be saved by using nurses instead of doctors to reduce the risk of suicide and prevent injuries to prisoners and officers.
Godwin said the number of London's 2,600 volunteer special constables would be added to.
It is also in negotiations with the government to allow 30 financial investigators involved in asset recovery to be funded by the proceeds of their work.
(Editing by David Milliken)
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