New York City mayor plans to cut $1bn from police budget

James Crump
AFP via Getty Images

New York City mayor Bill de Blasio has proposed cutting $1bn (£814m) from the police force’s $6bn (£4.48bn) yearly budget, amid calls for reform.

Mr de Blasio announced the plan during his daily City Hall press briefing on Monday, and said the proposed budget would help reform the New York City Police Department (NYPD).

“My office presented to City Council a plan that would achieve the billion in savings for the NYPD and shift resources to young people, to communities in a way that would help address a lot of the underlying issues that we know are the cause of so many problems in our society,” Mr de Blasio told reporters.

“I’m excited to say we have a plan that can achieve real reform, that can achieve real redistribution — while at the same time ensure that we keep our city safe, while we make sure that our officers are on patrol around where we need them around this city,” the mayor added.

A renewed discussion around police reform has emerged in the wake of the death of George Floyd, who was killed by Derek Chauvin, who was a Minneapolis police officer at the time, but has now been charged with second degree murder and manslaughter.

Black Lives Matter (BLM) protests took place following the death of Mr Floyd, and protesters have called for reform of police departments all across the US.

The mayor acknowledged that the protests influenced the decisions in the plan, but wanted to reassure New Yorkers that “we can strike the balance, we can keep this city safe.”

Mr de Blasio’s plan comes amid a spike in gun violence in the city, that saw 18 people shot over the weekend and 70 in total last week.

This was in comparison to the 26 people who were shot over the same time period in 2019.

Last week when asked about a spike in shootings in the city, Mr de Blasio said that it was time to try new strategies to combat gun violence.

“We’re going to use new strategies and approaches in policing, new strategies and approaches at the community level. We’re going to do whatever it takes to fight back gun violence.”

Mr De Blasio confirmed that no final decision have yet been made on the NYPD’s budget, and said he was unsure whether the 36,000 officers currently working for the NYPD would all keep their jobs, according to the New York Post.

He added that with the plan “it’s important to show that we are going to make changes in this city. We are going to refocus our efforts on young people in particular.

“It’s being done in a smart safe manner and I know the NYPD can handle it effectively.”

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