Islington councillor expresses fears over police cuts

Town Hall’s lead member for crime has called on Mayor of London Boris Johnson to reverse cuts to police numbers amid fears crime could increase as a result.

Cllr Barbara Sidnell, Islington Council’s executive member for community safety, issued the plea ahead of a full council meeting tonight (Thursday) which will discuss the implications of losing four Safer Neighbourhood Teams sergeants as well as last year’s cuts of �2.5million.

As reported in last week’s Gazette, this means eight of the teams will have to share a sergeant, including Barnsbury which has seen three stabbings this year.

Cllr Sidnell said: “I don’t want to scaremonger, but I am concerned about crime levels rising when we are losing police officers.

“More police on the streets prevents crime and makes people feel safer. If you make all these cuts, you are going to have problems.

“In some areas of Islington, crime has really gone down – but can we keep that up? We are going to lose 25 per cent of SNT sergeants in the borough – that is a blanket cut across London.

“Surely with a bit of sense you can see that some areas can afford to lose more than others. It’s not fair on boroughs like Islington.

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“After the riots, they talk about crime being a priority, but it doesn’t seem like it.

“Since Boris Johnson became mayor, Islington has also lost 25 full-time warranted police officers.”

Kit Malthouse, London’s deputy mayor of policing, said: “SNTs are here to stay in Islington. It is important to distinguish facts from propaganda.

“Every ward in Islington, as in the rest of the city, will continue to have its own dedicated SNT. I’m confident that the few wards that will now share managing sergeants will have better co-ordination and more efficient crime-fighting.

“With prudent financial management, we have protected every constable and PCSO working in neighbourhoods and no sergeants will lose their jobs, they will strengthen other core police teams such as town centre teams.

“Our priority remains having as many officers as possible out on the streets, keeping our communities safe.”

Islington police refused to comment.