Hackney residents fear safety in borough after huge cuts to Met Police

Daniel Pic: Phoebe Gardner

The UK’s police force has had £600m cut from its budget since 2012, yet the government says a further £400m of savings must be made by 2021.

Hackney has been hit hard with one in four Hackney police officers being lost. Even so, crime in the borough is up by 12 per cent. Mayor Philip Glanville has warned that further cuts to police funding will put Hackney residents’ security and safety at risk.

Georgia, 21, who works at a pub in Hackney, told Eastlondonlines: “I’ve noticed an increase in crime in the borough. I’ve worked round here for over a year and have to get the bus home late at night – I’ve had to change my route as men working in a take away by my stop would shout inappropriate things and this would scare me.

“From the same bus stop, my friend had her phone stolen by a man on a moped and the police refused to take her home because they ‘don’t go below the river’.”

Figures from January show that Hackney’s crime rate is nearly double London’s average. Burglary is up 8.9 per cent, robbery up 2.3 per cent and violence against a person rising by 5.5 per cent.

There has also been a recent surge in crimes committed on mopeds, grabbing peoples’ phones and purses while using them and driving off.

Georgia continued to say: “The cuts are awful, crime is on the rise and the police can’t cope with the demands.”

Daniel, who has lived in Hackney for five years, told ELL: “I definitely don’t see enough police out there, I mean I’d like to think I’m safe but it’s so random, it can happen to anyone.”

Daniel explains further in the interview below about how cuts have affected the borough:

Another Hackney resident told the Hackney Gazette that he waited 15 minutes to get through to 999, and it took a further 6 hours for the police to come to the reported burglary.

Inspector Ian Simpkins told the Hackney Gazette 15 minutes would be “excessively long and very unusual” to wait for a 999 call.

“You would need an enormous spike in demand for that to happen. The service – which is manned by civilian officers and police staff – is under pressure at the moment. They are struggling and often have to draft people in to fill the demand.

“Clearly there are resourcing pressures at the moment. Further cuts would make it more difficult to deliver quality policing – that’s fairly uncontentious.”

It was announced earlier this month that low-level crimes will now go un-investigated to “balance the books”.

The deputy assistant commissioner, Mark Simmons, said: “With the pressure on our resources, it is not practical for our officers to spend a considerable amount of time looking into something where, for example, the value of damage or the item stolen is under £50, or the victim is not willing to support a prosecution.”

Scotland Yard released a statement on Monday, outlining that it would investigate crimes only where there were leads to follow, but that more serious crimes will always be investigated.

Simmons continued: “We need our officers to be focused on serious crime and cases where there is a realistic chance that we will be able to solve it. We also want them to be available to respond to emergencies and go to those members of the public that need our help the most.”

Shoreditch police station was also at risk of closure earlier in the summer, in a bid to save money; in another ELL borough, Croydon, police could soon be based in fire stations. Budget cuts to the police force have caused 63 police stations in the capital to close over the years.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan has urged the government to “properly fund the police service to keep Londoners safe.”

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