Boris blamed for Islington crime rise amid plummeting police numbers
PUBLISHED: 12:42 21 May 2013 | UPDATED: 12:56 21 May 2013
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An Islington-wide crime rise was today blamed on Boris Johnson as figures emerged showing 100 less police are patrolling the borough’s streets.
The figures show officer numbers in the Mayor’s home borough have dropped 14 per cent from 713 in 2010 to 613 now, despite his promise to increase police numbers.
It comes just weeks after data showing total crime in Islington rose last year despite it falling London-wide.
Domestic incidents, violence against the person, sexual and racist and religious hate crimes were all up for 2012/13, fuelling a rise from 27,095 to 27,834 in the total number of incidents.
The figures show officer numbers have also dropped in neighbouring Hackney by 16 per cent – from 780 to 659 – in the same period, just weeks after the borough was rated the third least peaceful place to live in the country in an international study.
Overall crime in Hackney dropped slightly compared to the previous year from 27,920 to 27,544 offences.
Jennette Arnold, Greater London Assembly member for both boroughs, who also sits on City Hall’s police and crime committee, blamed the rise in crime on falling officer numbers and called for cuts to safer neighbourhood numbers to be reversed.
She said: “As night follows day, if you drop numbers, you will see an increase in criminal activity on our streets and on our estates which will impact on levels of the quality of life of us all.
“It is a tragedy we have a Mayor who can put fine words together but doesn’t connect the brain cells that God gave him.
“We have a Mayor who knows the cost of everything and the value of nothing. He has not had a proper debate about this and has not decided in consultation with the public what is the best thing to do, and as a result we have cuts being made that everyone is opposed to and which make our streets less safe.
“We need to see our safer neighbourhood teams restored because we need officers who know the area and know the community.”
The Mayor’s plans to reduce the policing budget from £2.5 billion to £2 billion by 2015. Despite promising an extra 1,000 police officers London-wide, there has been an overall reduction of nearly 3,000 across the capital since 2010.
Greenwich has seen the biggest drop with more than a fifth – 21 per cent – of officers having been slashed. Meanwhile, Barking and Dagenham has seen the least – 3 per cent.
Stephen Greenhalgh, Deputy Mayor for Policing, said: “Police officer posts are not being cut, in fact the Metropolitan Police is now training new officers and numbers are already rising.
“Later this year we will embark on a massive recruitment drive to hire 5,000 new constables and unlike many parts of the country, the balanced budget we have agreed enables us to keep police numbers high with reform plans that will put an extra 2,600 cops into neighbourhoods by 2016.”