Council campaigns against police budget cuts [Audio]

Police numbers in Hackney. Council campaign against cuts. Pic: Lil Toad

Police numbers in Hackney. Council campaign against cuts. Pic: Lil Toad

Hackney Council is campaigning against budget cuts to policing in the Borough because they fear a significant drop in the overall number of officers.

The council says since 2010, police officer figures have been falling and Mayor Boris Johnson’s Crime and Policing plan to reduce the police budget will lead to further and damaging reductions.

Since an estimated 2010 level of 770 police officers, the council predicts the Mayor London’s budgeting policy could lead to a fall to around 600.

As well as cuts to the policing levels, Hackney Police Station will close and the opening hours at Shoreditch Police Station will be reduced from 24 hours a day to 40 hours a week.

Hackney Borough Council has started a campaign to bring policing levels back to the same numbers they had in 2010.

The council is petitioning residents to find out how many support the council’s objections.

Councillor Sophie Linden, Hackney’s Cabinet Member for Crime and Community Safety explained “we launched the petition to put on pressure on those who makes decisions on funding and to make sure we continue to see the reduction of crime we have seen in the past ten years.”

Hackney’s crime levels have fallen by nearly 30% in the last decade, which equates to 11,000 fewer victims of crime. The Council says this is due to excellent policing, something they fear could be compromised by the cuts.

Councillor Linden feels that crime may have been reduced thanks to police presence on the streets. In Hackney there are Safer Neighbourhood Teams who provide support to the communities in the borough.

When Boris Johnson announced the cuts in March he sought to reassure the public:  “Londoners have repeatedly told us that putting more officers on the streets is their top priority, not keeping them hidden behind desks in offices which the public rarely set foot in. By getting our police out onto the streets and into the heart of their communities, we will drive down crime and boost confidence.”

The advantages of a police presence on the streets is acknowledged in Lewisham:

Hackney council are in talks with the police to establish a point of contact for the public to use at Hackney Service Centre.

Additional reporting in Lewisham by Lucy Johnson.

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