During a Westminster Hall debate on the future of London’s Metropolitan Police service, Rushanara Ali MP repeated her calls for the Conservative-led Government and the Mayor of London to reverse their damaging cuts to local police services, particularly the proven Tower Hamlets Safer Neighbourhood Teams, at a time of rising crime in the Borough.
Rushanara said: “My constituents do not have confidence in the proposals of the Mayor of London. They made that clear in a recent consultation led by the deputy Mayor, who was rather short of facts and unclear about what exactly was going on.
“[Tower Hamlets] faces the closure of three police facilities and a cut in proven and effective safer neighbourhoods teams, from six officers to one police officer and one PCSO.”
There are already 163 fewer uniformed officers in Tower Hamlets than when the current Government came to power in 2010. Yet over the same period, crime in Tower Hamlets has increased by 9%. This contrasts with six successive years of crime reduction in the Borough under the previous Labour Government.
Rushanara spoke particularly of her deep concern over proposals to cut each Safer Neighbourhood Team from six officers to one officer and one PCSO in Tower Hamlets.
She added: “We were the first to innovate and pilot the safer neighbourhoods initiative, which has proved extremely successful at reducing crime in our borough and around the country. It seems bizarre that the Government and the Mayor of London want to reverse that important provision, with its proven track record of success. It is dangerous and simply puts public safety at risk. I therefore appeal to the Minister to re-examine those issues, especially in the light of the dramatic increase in crime in the borough.”
Rushanara is also demanding answers from the Mayor of London and the Government over claims it has made about police numbers.
She told MPs: “When I raised that issue with the Home Secretary during Home Office questions on 7 January, she said that the Metropolitan police had indicated that they wanted to change the number of police community support officers to increase the number of police constables available. Yet the evidence shows that Tower Hamlets has 103 fewer police officers and 58 fewer PCOs than in 2010. I wrote to the Mayor of London to seek clarification a few weeks ago, soon after that answer, and have yet to receive a response."
The full text from Rushanara’s speech can be found here.