Barnsbury set to lose sergeant as cuts increase fears of disorder
�Islington Police have revealed exactly which areas are losing dedicated sergeants after cuts by the Mayor of London – and they include a crime hotspot where at least three people have been stabbed this year.
Eight of the borough’s 16 Safer Neighbourhoods Teams (SNTs) will be forced to share a sergeant with another ward by the end of the month after the London-wide cutbacks.
These include Barnsbury, which saw a 16-year-old stabbed in June in Barnard Park and two teens knifed on a football pitch in Lofting Road in March.
Cllr Jilani Chowdhury, Labour member for Barnsbury on Islington Council, said: “I am very worried and so are the residents in my ward. The SNT does a fantastic job but if they cut officers anti-social behaviour and crime are going to increase.
“Anti-social behaviour is a big problem in the area and this will have a huge impact.”
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The officers have to cover two wards because Islington is losing four of its 16 SNT sergeants – although the cutbacks do not affect numbers of police constables or PCSOs. Many of the wards have areas that had “above average” rates of crime or anti-social behaviour in the last month, according to the Metropolitan Police’s crime mapping website maps.met.police.uk.
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And the part of Barnsbury around Chapel Market and Wynford Road – which houses Islington Police Station in Tolpuddle Street – had a “high” level of violent crime with 10 incidents in August.
The ward, which had 143 crimes during August, will be sharing with Caledonian, where there were 134, Canonbury will double up with St Peter’s, Highbury East with Mildmay and Junction with St George’s.
The King’s Cross end of Caledonian ward is above average for crime, with 56 offences in August alone.
The whole of St Peter’s – where London Mayor Boris Johnson, who announced the cuts in February, lives – is above average for anti-social behaviour, with 110 incidents recorded, while it had 118 crimes.
Chief Inspector Claire Clark, in charge of Neighbourhood Policing, said: “Whilst in theory we have lost four sergeants, this will not impact on our policing of the wards in Islington.
“It simply means that eight wards will now be supervised by four sergeants.
“Each of our 16 wards will continue to have the same number of named police officers and PCSOs and they will continue, as before, to engage with their local communities and listen to their concerns.”
Meawhile figures released by the Metropolitan Police Authority this week show that Islington has lost 25 full-time warranted police officers since May 2010 as a result of budget cuts. The borough now has 689 officers in total.