Thursday 28 June 2007

No Guarantees from Tory Crime Chief to Not Cut Police Again

"No!" That was the answer given by Cllr. Greg Smith (Con - see picture) - the man responsible for dealing with crime in Hammersmith and Fulham - after being asked seven times to guarantee that “temporary” Community Support Officers would not be pulled from Hammersmith Broadway ward. The refusal to guarantee the police team happened last night at a public Council meeting when the 25% cut in the local police was debated.

Cllr. Smith had cut the police budget for the ward in February of this year resulting in two PCs and one PCSO being removed from the area to shore up a police experiment in Fulham and Shepherds Bush.

Four Community Support Officers were placed into the ward at the end of April following a public campaign organised by Hammersmith Broadway ward councillors (Lisa Nandy, Mike Cartwright and myself) and backed by hundrends of local residents. However, they were only placed into the ward on a “temporary” basis which was defined as anything between "two weeks to two years" and only after an Evening Standard reporter phoned the police to ask about the 25% cut - having seen one of our leaflets in a local butcher’s shop.

While we have had some success in reversing the Conservatives cuts in police, this is hardly what residents were promised by the Tories prior to the election. Back then, the Tories said they would match Labour’s record which saw crime fall by 10% and which was the most successful of all 33 London Boroughs at the time of the 2006 local elections. The Tories then took over in May 2006 having promised to provide more police – not a quarter less or PCSOs on a “temporary” basis. Hammersmith residents deserve to have their Council Tax spent on what everyone tells us is their number one concern and that is fighting crime. My fellow ward councillors and I will continue to campaign until we get the full compliment of police on a permanent basis.

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