Foot the Bill for policing, government urged
Hackney residents are being urged to ask the Government to foot the bill for policing as part of a campaign to raise awareness of the impact cuts to officer numbers is having on their lives.
Hackney has lost one in four police officers since 2010 and after 15 years of declining crime rates, offending in the borough is now increasing.
The Council campaign, called Foot the Bill, calls on the Government to abandon further planned cuts to the Metropolitan Police budget and increase its funding. It also asks residents and businesses to write to the Home Secretary to tell her about their own concerns and experiences of increasing crime and antisocial behaviour to demonstrate the real impact of cuts.
The Metropolitan Police is funded predominantly by government’s Police Grant. It has been forced to make £600m of savings since 2010, with a further £400m due by 2020/21, as a result of government cuts. Officer numbers have declined across London and Hackney has seen a cut from 770 officers in October 2010, to 584 now.
The loss of one in four police officers in Hackney comes against a backdrop of an increasing population – up by a third in 15 years – and an ever-growing influx of people each night to popular night-time destinations such as Shoreditch and Dalston. Each officer in the borough is now responsible for 469 people, up from 320 in 2010.
Between 2002/03 and 2014/15, crime fell by 34.7% in Hackney, equating to 13,000 fewer victims of crime. The latest figures show overall crime in the borough was up by 12% in 2016/17, with robbery and knife crime up by 24% and 22% respectively.
Hackney Council is calling on the government to commit to three things to keep London’s streets safe:
- No further cuts to the Metropolitan Police
- Increase the Police Grant
- Increase the funding that the Met receives from the Capital Cities Grant. Currently London gets £100m less than it should.
Our police do a fantastic job in Hackney, but years of pioneering and progressive partnership between the police, the Council and other organisations to bring crime down over the past 15 years is being put at risk by short-sighted cuts to the police, and now crime is now going up.
This trend is mirrored London-wide, where overall offences are up by 4.56%, and nationally, where recorded crime is up by 13%. The police simply do not have the resources they need, and Ministers’ platitudes about being more efficient, do nothing to address the reality on the ground or the rapidly growing concerns among our residents and businesses.
We’ve written to the Government repeatedly to warn them that they need to act now to stop this trend continuing. However, I’m hearing more and more concerns and stories from residents and businesses and think it’s important the Home Secretary also hears first-hand how government cuts to the police are affecting their lives and making our streets less safe.
The Council has set up an online form to make it easy for people to write to the Home Secretary on its campaign webpage www.hackney.gov.uk/foot-the-bill.