The Metropolitan Police must make spending cuts every year for the next four years, the Home Secretary has said this week.
Theresa May said the Met and other forces have not been “let off the hook” by Chancellor George Osborne's surprise decision to protect police budgets in real terms.
But Mrs May warned that she expected efficiencies to be made as the government continues to “finish the job” of police reform.
She said that although the spending settlement will give the police service an extra £900 million in cash terms by 2019-20: “That is on top of the £1.9 billion of savings you are already planning to make and the £2.1 billion you hold in reserves. It represents – quite simply – a massive investment in the future of policing in this country.
“But neither I, nor the public, will have any sympathy for those who complain about budget cuts – as some of you have continued to do in the past couple of weeks. Because as I said two weeks before the spending review, it is not in spite of the need to find savings that we have been able to reform policing, but because of them.
“And to those who think the spending review gives you breathing space to relax the reforms we started five years ago, you could not be more wrong.”
The exact allocations to the Met have yet to be announced, but Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe had feared cuts of at least 2,000 officers from the force's 32,000 before the Autumn Statement.
The Home Secretary added: “I can tell you now that – just as you had planned to do a month ago – every force will still need to make savings year on year.
“So this settlement is not a reprieve from reform. It does not let you off the hook or mean you can slow the pace of change. Nor does it insulate you from the need to look for further efficiencies.”