The Mayor of Tower Hamlets John Biggs has called on the Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond to reverse cuts to police budgets as part of the Spring Statement today (Wednesday 13th March 2019).
Tower Hamlets has seen a dramatic reduction in the number of police officers and PCSOs on the streets since 2010, and the Mayor has urged the Chancellor to reverse the cuts.
Police forces in Tower Hamlets and Hackney were recently merged into a single unit (the Central East Command Unit) following the shake-up of policing across the capital last year. The combined boroughs of Tower Hamlets and Hackney have seen the number of police officers fall from 1613 in 2010, to 1120 in 2019 – a reduction of nearly 500 police officers.
Similarly the number of PCSOs in Tower Hamlets and Hackney has fallen from 254 in 2010 to 47 in 2019 – a reduction of over 200 PCSOs. Police stations have also been closed in Limehouse, Brick Lane and the Isle of Dogs.
The impact of police cuts is felt London-wide as the Government has cut funding to the Metropolitan Police by £850m since 2010. The Met are expected to find a further £263m of savings by 2022/23.
The Prime Minister Theresa May recently said there “no direct correlation between certain crimes and police numbers”. This view was not shared by the Met Police Commissioner Cressida Dick who said the following day that “there is some link between violent crime on the streets obviously and police numbers, of course there is, and everybody would see that.”
Mayor of Tower Hamlets John Biggs said: “The Tory Government is locked in a state of denial about the impact that cuts to our police budgets are having and they refuse to listen to even the most senior police officers. You simply cannot take hundreds of police officers off the streets without there being an impact.
“It’s falling to local councils across the country to try and fill the gaps. Locally we’re investing millions of pounds in providing extra police officers and a new team to tackle anti-social behaviour, but councils don’t have the resources to replace every officer that the Government scraps. I’m calling on the Chancellor to reverse the deeply damaging cuts that the police have suffered.”
Councillor Asma Begum, Deputy Mayor and Cabinet Member of Community Safety and Equalities, said: “Crime and anti-social behaviour is one of the biggest concerns for people in our borough, and we recently agreed new budget plans including £1.7m for a new team of ASB enforcement officers to keep our streets safe on top of the additional police officers already funded by the council.
“Councils, police forces and the public sector more generally are suffering after nearly a decade of Tory austerity, and we need the Chancellor to recognise the damage it’s doing and put money back into the vital services that people rely on.”