The Met fails to reflect the face of people it’s policing

© 1000words |

Photo: © 1000words |

The ethnic make up of the Metropolitan Police is hugely out of line with the people it is policing. 3,729 of the Met’s 31,877 officers are classified as BME. That is 11.7% but the population of the capital is 40% black and ethnic.

Broken down by rank the numbers show an even more serious lack of representation at some levels. At Constable level 13% of officers are BME. But at senior level it is half that rate. Just 2 of the 29 Chief Officers, that’s the most senior people above the rank of Chief Superintendent, are black or minority ethnic by origin.

And there appears to be an even more serious problem among middle ranking officers. Only 2.7% of Chief Inspectors and 5.9% of Inspectors in the Met are black or other minority ethnic, according to the latest figures from the Home Office.

Police BME

The Metropolitan Police has the highest proportion of officers who identify themselves as Black or other Minority Ethnic of any force in England and Wales.

The rates are worse for the much smaller City of London force. 43 of its 739 officers are BME, that’s 5.8%. And there are none above the rank of Chief Inspector.  They are pollicing an areas where the resident population is is 22% black and other minority ethnic.

4 forces in England and Wales, Cheshire, Durham, North Yorkshire and Dyfed-Powys, have no black officers.

The Met has been trying to address the problem since the Macpherson Report into the investigation of the murder of black teenager Stephen Lawrence branded it as “institutionally racist”.

The proportion of BME officers has been increasing steadily but missing targets. In 2005 the proportion of BME officers was half the current rate at 6.9%. And recruitment of black officers has improved. In 2014 more than 500 recruits, or 16% of the total, were BME.

The Labour candidate for Mayor, Sadiq Khan, says that he would introduce a quota system to try to address the disparity.

Much more will need to be done before that faces of the Met and the City of London force reflect the populations that they are policing.

Source data

See also

Met reveals record on race discrimination: 245 complaints, no misconduct

Police Taser some young and elderly, and firing is up steeply in some areas

Police say violent crime is up, but it may be the way it’s recorded

Elderly losing out in city with high levels of digital skills

finger on tablet-2A very high proportion of people in  London use the internet but what are they able to do when they are online? 91% of Londoners have at some point accessed the internet according to survey data from the Office for National Statistics, reported by Urbs.  But fewer than that have basic skills it would seem, according to a another survey into digital capability?

The research, commissioned by the charity Go On UK, which aims to improve digital skills in individuals and organisations, shows that Londoners come out on top in the UK,  but 16% would fail to perform 5 basic digital skills.

The charity identified a series of task to define digital skills, from searching for information, to filling out an online form or creating something from online assets.  Those with all 5 are defined as having Basic Digital Skills, those with the first 4 as having Basic Online Skills.

Screen Shot 2015-10-21 at 16.20.43

Graphic: Ipsos for Go On UK

Research company Ipsos carried out face-to-face interviews with 4,167 people nationally, 577 of them in London, to assess skills. 71% nationally possessed all 5 skills; in London it was 84%.

Screen Shot 2015-10-21 at 16.22.10

Map: Ipsos for Go On UK


Looking at the survey results at local authority level saw a high point of 90% in the City of London and above average scores of 88% in Kensington and Chelsea, and 86% in Wandsworth. Seven boroughs had rates below 80% with the lowest recorded in Redbridge, 76% and Newham, 73%.

Across the UK, skill levels in older people are much less common but the decline for those over 45 was much steeper in London than the rest of the country.  While skill levels for groups below 44 are almost identical, in the 65+ age category 43% have the basic digital skills but only 38% in London.

One positive difference between London and the rest of the country is the gender gap, which the survey suggests doesn’t exist in the capital.  In the UK as a whole 80% of men and 74% of women had the basic digital skills. In London it was 84% and 83%.

Access to broadband emerged as a key factor as did ownership of digital devices.  London scores well in both these areas; 93% of respondents in London had broadband access and 94% owned a smartphone.

Source data

See also

More than half a million Londoners have never used the internet

London’s smart, but not smart enough


Majority of the 50,000 second homes are in 4 central boroughs

Kensington Chelsea-2Nearly 50,000 properties in London are designated as second homes and lie empty for much of the time.

The figures are revealed in the Council Tax listings and show more than half of the second homes are in just 4 areas – Kensington and Chelsea, Westminster, Camden and Tower Hamlets.

In Kensington and Chelsea around 1 in 10 dwellings is defined as a second home. Westminster has 6075, or 5% of its housing and there’s a similar proportion in Camden and Tower Hamlets.

Second homes

The highest proportion is in the City of London where 32% of properties are second homes. And outer boroughs such as Enfield, Hillingdon, Hounslow and Merton have over 1,000.

A second home is defined for Council Tax purposes as one that is not the main residence and used for a limited time during the course of a year.

The idea of a pied-a-terre for those living outside the capital with the wealth to afford a small London base is long established. But there’s concern that overseas property buyers are now fuelling the market, purchasing homes as an investment and happy to leave them empty.

This has an impact on the property market, increasing demand, pushing up prices, and contributing to the crisis of cost and affordability in the London.

Source data

See also

Why the London property market is heading back to the 1970s

Half the city’s homes are flats but London is low in the high-rise stakes

The jobs success and housing failure causing a crisis for the capital


New workers stick together and head north of river as they settle in the capital

Larger numbers of new overseas workers coming to the capital are settling north of the river than south with Newham and Brent as the favourite destinations.

334,419 people from overseas registered for a National Insurance number, allowing them to work or claim benefits, in the financial year 2014/15. More than 50,000 are in Newham and Brent, but there are more than 10,000 in 13 of the 20 boroughs north of the river.

The City of London has the highest rate as a proportion of the working age population, but the numbers are small. Newham and Brent stand out clearly, and the top 10 are all north of the river areas.

NI top 10 boroughs

In contrast, 8 of the 10 boroughs with the lowest proportions are south of the river.

NI bottom 10 boroughsNew arrivals from Romania are driving the Newham and Brent numbers. Romanians were allowed free access to the UK labour market from the beginning of 2014. In the financial year 2014/15 nearly 67,000 have settled in London and registered for NI. That’s 20% of all registrations in London.

As our map shows, there are more than 8,000 in both Newham and Brent. That’s around a third of all new overseas NI registrations in each of those boroughs. As previously reported by Urbs, these are the areas that have the highest levels of Romanian born Londoners according to data from the last census in 2011.

NI Map Romanians-2

And it is not only Romanians who are choosing to join established national communities in London. Bulgarians, who also gained free movement to work in Britain in 2014, have predominantly settled in Haringey, Newham and Enfield. These are the three areas with the most Bulgarian-born Londoners according to the census.

Ni Map Bulgarians

The same story emerges for Poles. Ealing has more people from Poland than any other London borough according to the census data. It also has by far the most new NI registrations.

NI Map Poles

The group that bucks this trend is the Italians. 35,000 registered for NI in the past year, the biggest national group after Romanians. The census data shows that Italians living in London favour inner London boroughs with Westminster and Kensington and Chelsea as favourite. As our map shows, new arrivals are still living centrally but Tower Hamlets is the number one choice with Brent and Haringey also proving popular.

NI Map Italians

This shift in emphasis may be due to the changing nature and income level of a growing workforce seeking employment in London amid more difficult economic circumstances back home since the financial crisis.

Source data

See also

What National Insurance really tells us about London’s overseas workforce

The importance of the London factor in overseas worker numbers

London population maps

Anxious, unhappy, dissatisfied with life? Perhaps you live in Hackney or Barking?


How happy are you? Did you feel anxious yesterday? Are you satisfied with life, and does your life feel worthwhile? These are the questions the Office for National Statistics has been asking since 2010 to try to understand the nation’s well-being.

The most recent rankings show that people in Richmond and Kensington and Chelsea are most pleased with their lot in life while those in Barking and Dagenham, Hackney and Lambeth seem to have little to smile about.

The results are based upon a national survey carried out by the ONS that questions around 120,000 people nationally and over 13,000 in London. The responses indicate a greater sense of well-being in south and west London, in line with the GLA’s own well-being index, previously reported by Urbs.

When it comes to satisfaction with life the small resident population of the City of London came out top, closely followed by Kensington. At the other end of the scale the survey respondents in Barking and Dagenham and Lambeth were least satisfied.

ONS Well-being Survey
How satisfied are you with your life?
Most Satisfied Least satisfied
City of London Barking and Dagenham
Kensington and Chelsea Lambeth
Richmond Camden
Southwark Hackney
Merton Greenwich

There was a similar result at the top and bottom of the rankings when it came to whether life felt worthwhile.

ONS Well-being Survey
To what extent do you feel the things you do in your life are worthwhile?
Worthwhile Not worthwhile
Kensington and Chelsea Lambeth
City of London Barking and Dagenham
Hillingdon Hackney
Bexley Camden
Richmond Brent

In terms of happiness the affluent areas of Richmond and Kensington and Chelsea score well once more, and Bromley on the southern outer edge of the capital also has happy residents. Hackney and Barking and Dagenham feature again but at the wrong end of the rankings.

ONS Well-being Survey
How happy did you feel yesterday?
Most happy Least happy
Kensington and Chelsea Hackney
Bromley Barking and Dagenham
Richmond Hammersmith and Fulham
Barnet Waltham Forest
Hounslow Westminster

As well as being unhappy the survey respondents in Hackney and Barking and Dagenham were also the most anxious people in the capital. As their boroughs feature in the bottom 5 in all 4 categories perhaps that’s not surprising.

ONS Well-being Survey
How anxious did you feel yesterday?
Least anxious Most anxious
Enfield Hackney
Barnet Barking and Dagenham
Harrow Lambeth
Newham Southwark
Hillingdon Islington

The least anxious were not in the affluent areas that scored well in other categories but in the North London boroughs of Enfield, Barnet and Harrow.

Source data

See also

Well-being and wealth – how South West London soars ahead of the rest

Are you a north of the river or south of the river Londoner?








How London swallowed a county and had room for a bit of some others

The release of historical boundary maps data as part of the Ordinance Survey Open Data portal provides a reminder of how the formation of Greater London came at the expense of one of England’s historic counties, Middlesex.

For those not familiar with this piece of geographic history, most of London outside the boundaries of the City of London, used to sit within the county of Middlesex. Local government reorganisation at the end of the 19th Century created a newly defined Middlesex County Council splitting off the inner London boroughs to form the County of London.

But the growing population of London kept heading to the suburbs, to Middlesex. By the post war years the shape of the capital had changed and the Royal Commission on Local Government for London was set up in the early 60s to determine boundaries and local governance.

It came up with concept of Greater London, which came into being in 1965, swallowing Middlesex as a county council area. The map of southern England used to look like this.

Screen Shot 2015-08-05 at 21.56.58

Map Contains OS data © Crown copyright & Royal Mail data © Royal Mail copyright

Today’s county boundaries, marked in pink, look like this.

Screen Shot 2015-08-05 at 21.57.33

Map Contains OS data © Crown copyright & Royal Mail data © Royal Mail copyright

Middlesex disappeared as a county and Greater London has also absorbed parts of Essex, Kent and Surrey.

Middlesex lives on as a place name still used by many and its legacy includes Middlesex County Cricket Club, which plays its home games at Lord’s cricket ground in St John’s Wood, home of the Marylebone Cricket Club, the MCC, guardians of the rules of the game.

OS Open data

OS Interactive Boundary Map

See also

Are you a north of the river or south of the river Londoner?

Go east young man – it’s where young London lives

A London exodus? But wait, isn’t the population growing?

Renting in London: 2 bedroom homes

The additional cost of living in London really begins to show in 2 bedroom homes. For families who need more than a single bedroom the median price in London is £1,400, that’s 135% above the median price for England.

Rental 2 Bed

Data from the Valuation Office Agency, the body that advises the government on property values, shows the highest prices in the capital are in Kensington and Chelsea, and Westminster, with the City close behind.

Camden and Islington are in the tier below with median rental around £1,900 a month followed by the ring of inner boroughs and Haringey.

Rental 2 bed map

As with smaller properties, median prices are lowest on the south and east edges of the capital.

Source data

More on Renting in London


Renting in London: 1 bedroom homes

For a single person or a couple the step up in monthly rental from a studio to a 1 bedroom flat costs an additional £300. The median rental price in London for a 1 bedroom home is £1,155, more than double the median price for England of £525.

Rental 1 Bed

Data from the Valuation Office Agency, the body that advises the government on property values, shows the highest prices in the capital are in Kensington and Chelsea and Westminster, with the City close behind.

Camden and Islington have prices in excess of £1,400 and there is a ring of inner London boroughs, from Hackney in the north east to Hammersmith in the west and Lambeth in the south where monthly rents are still above £1,200.

Rental 1 bed map

Further out, prices are broadly the same in Barnet, Hounslow or Merton. Cheaper prices can be found in the south, in Sutton, Croydon and Bromley. But only Havering, Barking and Dagenham and Bexley offer a median rent below £800 a month for 1-bedroom properties.

Source data

More on Renting in London


Renting in London: A Studio

A studio flat is typically a single room for living/sleeping with a separate kitchen and bathroom. It’s the smallest type of self-contained home and renting one will set you back around £850 in London. That’s £350 more than the median price across England as a whole.

Rental studio

Data from the Valuation Office Agency, the body that advises the government on property values, shows the capital itself has an enormous range in prices from £1,387 in the City to £525 in Bexley.

The price differences are more marked than for room rentals as you travel out from central London with options going from around £1,000 in central boroughs to £750-£850 in inner London and £650-£700 in most outer boroughs.

Rental studio map

As with room rentals, the cheaper options are in the east of the city in Havering, Barking and Dagenham and Bexley. Bromley, Sutton and Hillingdon are also cheaper locations.

Source data

Renting in London: A Room

More on Renting in London





Fewer babies born last year but birth rates vary across city

Baby handThe number of children born in London fell marginally last year to 127,399, a reduction of 0.7% on 2013.

Data from the Office for National Statistics shows that the birth rate has fallen for a second year. The ONS uses a measure called GRF (general rate of fertility) to measure the number of births per 1,000 women in the 15-44 age group. The rate for the whole of London is 63.3, a little above the average for England of 62.2 and the third highest in the country.

births natonally

But the overall rate hides a large variation across the city. The birth rate in the inner London boroughs is 56.5, and the differences become starker when looked at on a borough-by-borough level.

London has a central core of 4 boroughs where the birth rate is much lower. In the City of London, Camden, Westminster and Islington rates are below 50 per 1000 women. But in several outer boroughs, notably Barking & Dagenham and Newham the rate is over 75. Barking & Dagenham has the 4th highest GFR in England.

births london

The proportion of births to mothers born outside the UK went up slightly to 27% nationally in 2014. This has increased every year since 1990 and has a particular impact in London where there is a large overseas-born population.

Source data

See also

London drives UK population growth

Younger workforce makes capital’s population pensioner poor

Booming population will struggle to find a place to live