Fourteen new police officers will be recruited to tackle crime on Tower Hamlets council estates, it has been confirmed.
Mayor John Biggs announced last week an additional £1.5m to fund an anti-social behaviour team, the first of its kind in the borough.
The new officers come as a response to growing concerns over national police budget cuts. A report in January revealed that since Theresa May became home secretary in 2010 total police numbers in England and Wales have fallen by 46,700.
Councillor Asma Begum, Cabinet Member for Community Safety, said: “It’s clear that government cuts to the police have meant fewer officers on our streets. That makes this new investment from the council even more important.”
The latest expansion in numbers takes the total of officers funded directly by the council in Tower Hamlets to 20. Further funding will be provided for mobile security patrols to offer a greater visible uniformed presence on Tower Hamlets Homes’ estates.
The combined investment of police officers and security patrols will total £2.5m over the next three years. The new officers will target drug dealing and drug misuse.
Biggs said the additional officers “ will take on the persistent offenders who are making life a misery for residents“ and they should be on the estates from September.
“In a borough with 300,000 people living in only eight square miles, there are always going to be problems but this council is committed to supporting the police to tackle crime and anti-social behaviour,” he added.
The council said the new taskforce will patrol “anti-social behaviour hotspots” throughout the night and will have a single telephone number for reporting issues.
Recruitment for the team is currently underway.
Councillor Sirajul Islam, Statutory Deputy Mayor and Cabinet Member for Housing, added:
“We want our housing estates to be as safe as possible for residents, these new officers and security patrols will make a real difference. Bringing the police and Tower Hamlets Homes staff together builds on the partnership work that is already getting results on our estates. “
According to the 2017 Annual Resident’s Survey, crime was a top priority for residents across the borough.