|Cllr Sue Fennimore (Lab): why more police|
not less is H&F Labour's approach
That means that at a time when the Conservative/Lib Dem government and Conservative Mayor of London are cutting police numbers for our borough, H&F's new Labour administration has agreed to step in and provide a 22% increase in the number of council-funded police officers able to protect our residents. That is the largest amount of council funded police officers in the borough's history.
This was debated last night. I guess I felt sorry for most of the Conservative councillors who looked sick to their stomachs that we had done as we promised we'd do, throughout our time in opposition and in our manifesto and achieved more than they ever did on policing and all within just six months of taking office.
One Conservative councillor, who should probably remain nameless, became so ridiculously full of rage during Councillor Sue Fennimore's speech that he could not stop himself yelling out abuse in anger.
Sue spoke eloquently about the extra police so I thought I'd highlight what she said here:
"Thank you Madam Mayor. I want to start by paying tribute to all those that work to fight to reduce crime: Police officers; PCSOs; this council’s own community safety teams; and many, many others. They rightly deserve our thanks and our support.
There is much talk of crime figures but as we all know, statistics can never tell the personal stories of those that have suffered crime:
The elderly woman too afraid to go sleep in her own bed after her home was ransacked by burglars; the young person violently attacked; a community intimidated by drug dealers; the woman beaten in front of her children by a boyfriend who had become all too confident of getting away with it. We all have a duty to cut crime.
This time last year my fellow Labour councillors and I promised to: “put police back on the beat.” I am therefore extremely pleased this new Labour administration is delivering on that promise and has prioritised extra funding for extra police. We will in fact be providing 22% more police - the largest number of council funded police officers in Hammersmith and Fulham’s history.
A big step to tackling crime, and a step taken less than six months since our new Labour administration assumed office on 16th June.
We want these Hammersmith and Fulham police officers to cut serious crime. I was not impressed to discover that just over two years ago we had a police officer stationed on the forecourt of the BP petrol station. There had been a spate of people driving off and not paying for petrol and that forced crime figures to shoot up. Stealing petrol is a criminal offence and should be confronted but a police officer pulled off the front-line and stationed on a petrol station forecourt is hardly the smartest use of limited public resources. So we expect all the police officers Hammersmith and Fulham Council funds to concentrate on reducing serious crimes.
As we know, crime figures can be disputed. In 2008 Boris Johnson said “We need to stop kidding ourselves. We all know that we are suffering from an epidemic of unreported crime”.
In fact, Boris Johnson pledged to take “take personal responsibility” and to tackle “the target-driven culture”. It’s a shame that he broke that promise. The situation now is that Mayor of London and this Conservative/Lib Dem government is cutting police numbers. And despite a promising start, this Borough’s former Conservative administration lost their way on policing.
On the 17th July 2008 Conservative councillors announced they had agreed a cut, yes a cut in police sergeants from 16 to 12. The quote given by the Conservatives was telling: “To be only losing four Safer Neighbourhoods Sergeants at a time when other boroughs are losing more is good news."
“Good news!?”… Really?
By 2014 Conservative councillors had become little more than apologists for a Mayor and a government that had reduced the borough’s police by 32 and planned to cut more.
Residents voted for a different way…
So let us be clear: All - and I stress ALL - the money for the extra police this Labour administration is putting onto the streets has come about after we re-negotiated property deals Conservative councillors had already agreed and closed the book on.
That is staggering! No soft touch for property firms. No soft touch for criminals. This new Labour administration is:
Tough on crime
Tough on the causes of crime
And taking a tough, hard-nosed approach to winning extra funds to deliver extra police – and all just when the Conservatives have gone soft.