Two years on from London Riots Islington crime rates rise with less police on the streets

Cllr David Wilson

Cllr David Wilson - Credit: Archant

On the second anniversary of the London riots crime rates were on the rise and there are 150 less police in Islington compared to when the civil unrest shook the capital.

The latest figures show that key crimes – including phone snatches, violence with injury and the City Hall’s target crimes including burglary, robbery and youth violence – have all risen.

At the same time policing cuts mean there are 151 fewer officers – 113 police and 38 PCSOs – in the borough than when the riots kicked off in August 2011.

The opposition Lib Dem group have slammed Islington Council for rejecting their awareness campaign to target phone theft and for splashing £250,000 on a new CCTV system instead of more police officers.

Cllr David Wilson, the Lib Dem community safety spokesman, said: “Even though nationally crime seems to be falling, the crimes that most affect Islington residents are going up all the time – street robberies especially.

“We warned over a year ago that the police and council needed to do more to tackle this. But Labour councillors refused to admit that there was even a problem in their usual arrogant ‘we know best’ way. The figures now speak for themselves.

“We also proposed spending some of the Council’s budget on extra police officers for our streets. Yet Labour councillors voted this idea down too preferring instead to waste a quarter of a million pounds on CCTV cameras. So much for being tough on crime. It’s nothing more than a soundbite.”

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In the past year, reported phone thefts have gone up from 619 to 676, violence with injury is 9 per cent above target levels and the Mayor of London’s combined crime targets are 8 per cent higher than they should be.

Cllr Paul Convery, Islington Council’s executive member for community safety, said: “Phone snatches may be up over the last 12 months, but they are down in the last three or four.

“We know who most of the people are and they are the same people who have been selling weed and causing aggravation for some time.

“We want to chase and arrest phone snatchers, not simply rely on phone owners to keep them in pocket. Normal life should carry on. We have done a campaign to raise awareness, but it’s totally inadequate. We should be cleaning the streets.”

Cllr Convery blamed the rise in violence with injury on domestic violence and promised in future the town hall would not juts support the victim, but “deal with the men who get drunk and become violent”.

He added: “We don’t agree with the police cuts, but we have to deal with them. We may have less coppers but we have more actually on the streets. I don’t know where we will be in nine months - there might be more injuries due to high impact policing - but at the moment seems to be going ok.

“And if you ask the police if they want a permanent, greatly improved CCTV system that helps them be where they need to be, or a if the money to be used on having a few more coppers on the streets for just a year, there’s no contest.”