BY CALUM FRASER
An ex-conservative Councillor says Government cuts to the police are tearing up communities.
Eileen Glover, who is chairwoman of the Greenwich Safer Neighbourhood Boards (GSNB), urged residents to back Greenwich council’s foot the bill campaign which is lobbying the Government to halt £370million cuts to the Met.
The boards meet regularly to hold the police to account and ensure communities are more closely involved in problem solving and crime prevention.
Ms Glover said: “The police are the bedrock of the community. “The current cuts are eroding our confidence in the police.
“I am concerned about how much money the Government keep taking out of the force.
“We can’t keep asking more from the police without giving them the means to modernise.
“Investing in the police is investing in the community and country as a whole.”
According to the council, since 2010 Greenwich has lost 168 police officers and 117 Police Community Support Officers due to a £600million cut to the Met budget.
Ms Glover said: “I am a conservative, but I have serious concerns about the current Government’s actions.
“They just have the efficiency buzz word that they keep pushing through. I do not have the confidence that they have a constructive plan.
“I feel they are rushing towards tech and IT developments as the be all and end all solution.
“Moving towards online services can have the biggest impact on the most vulnerable people in the community.
“I am sight impaired and I am often timed out when I try to use online services.
“There is no substitute for the benefit of having real bodies on the ground present in the community.”
Mrs Glover proposes a reinvestment and modernisation scheme which would reward councils and police forces that manage to make savings. “We need a change of rhetoric from efficiency to modernisation that can lead to a change in action.
“Give the police back the money they save but use that money in smart and targeted ways,” she said.
Borough Commander Simon Dobinson said: “Engaging with residents on a grass roots, community level is absolutely vital for building safe and strong communities with trust at their very core.”
The council said the borough has seen a 8.8 per cent rise in overall offences since 2010 while London as a whole has seen crime figures rocket in the past year.
Data from the Mayor of London’s Police and Crime Office compared incidents of reported crime between November and October from 2015/16 to 2016/17.
It showed that homicides in London rose by 27.1 per cent. Youth homicide jumped 70 per cent. Serious youth violence was up 19 per cent and robbery was up 33.4 per cent.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan proposed a 5 per cent council tax hike which will be ring-fenced for police and fire services.
Mr Khan said: “The Met have had to make £600million of cuts in recent years, closing police stations and cutting police posts. Further savings will be needed, and the Met are running out of options.
“I have been left with no choice but to propose to increase council tax by the new maximum the Government allows – taking the difficult decisions necessary to keep Londoners safe. Not only is this a regressive form of taxation which hits those who can least afford to pay it the hardest, it is still not enough to protect the front line of policing.
“Ministers are shirking their responsibility to keep this country safe by adequately funding our police service and are leaving it to taxpayers here in London to help to bridge the gap.”