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Friday, 12 October, 2001, 20:53 GMT 21:53 UK
Funds threaten terror policing
Police patrol Whitehall
An extra 1,000 officers are patrolling the capital
The Metropolitan Police can afford to sustain its present high level of policing in the capital for only another month, it has emerged.

The anti-terror effort has pushed the cost of policing the capital to 1m a week, the London Assembly has warned.

And it said funds would run out within four weeks unless the Home Office steps in to help.

The warning follows police denials on Wednesday that services such as school liaison, crime prevention and policing football matches could be overlooked to pay for the cost of the heightened security.

Officers outside the Houses of Parliament
Extra officers are deployed at sensitive buildings

London's police force has been on high alert following the 11 September attacks in New York and Washington.

The terrorist threat took over from mugging and street crime as the Metropolitan Police's top priority after a meeting on 28 September.

An extra 1,000 police officers are on duty in London at any one time, and have been since shortly after the attacks.

Sally Hamwee, chairwoman of the Assembly's Budget Committee, said: "The police are struggling to bring their financial and accounting arrangements up to those expected in 2001.

"The Home Office, to which they were directly accountable until last year, left them a legacy requiring nothing more than making sure the sums added up.

"There are huge pressures on their budget and it is essential that the Home Secretary and the Treasury address how the post-September 11 costs are dealt with, and do so as a matter of urgency."

Representatives of the Metropolitan Police Authority have been in discussions with the Home Office about the problem and on Friday sent a letter to Mr Blunkett calling for swift action, she said.

It said the current wages bill was being met by the reserve fund which would run out in a month.

A Home Office spokesman said the government was giving careful consideration to how the response to any terrorist threat is resourced in terms of policing.


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