Monday 17 September 2007

Stenton Butchers Plays Key Role In “Temporally” Reversing H&F Conservative’s Cuts in Police Numbers

If it wasn’t for John Stenton, the Hammersmith Broadway ward police team would have remained cut by 25%. As it is, we only have the four community support officers on a “temporary” basis. But it’s still a result that Stenton Butchers played a part in securing.

Odd how these things work really: Stenton Butchers is widely believed to be the best in the area and one of the best in the country. As such, it attracts a wide array of customers - many picking up on local news as they shop. John also gives up his spare time to sit on the Safer Neighbourhood Ward Police Panel, so he is well up to date with local affairs. Consequently, he kindly agreed to support our campaign to have the 25% cut in police numbers reversed.

One of John Stenton’s customers is an Evening Standard journalist, who picked up one of our Stop The 25% Cut in Police leaflets and promptly investigated the story. The impending threat of a highly embarrassing splash in London’s leading newspaper was enough to deliver both a change of heart and the "temporary" Community Support Officers.

Prior to this, I had written to Cllr. Greg Smith (Con), H&F Council’s Cabinet Member for Crime, on March the 7th. I suggested that he should back away from the reduction in police funding. Not only had he promised local people more police prior to the 2006 election but Hammersmith Broadway has the highest rates of crime in the borough, so cutting police numbers made no sense. He failed to even reply. I then bumped into Cllr. Smith at a public meeting, which had been arranged after the brutal murder of a young man in Hammersmith Grove. I explained that I would not be mentioning his 25% cut in police numbers when I spoke to the audience, because it was an inappropriate occasion to do so but told him that I’d like him to reverse it all-the-same. He nervously said that he was grateful for that and promised to review the funding. He failed to reply again. I was then told by the police that the Town Hall’s funding cut would stay. This left my fellow ward councillors and I with no option but to begin a public campaign. That started in April of this year and resulted in our leaflets being handed out from Stenton Butchers and other local shops.

One good thing has come out of this episode though. It’s reaffirmed to me that local people and community minded businesses can make a difference if they make their voices heard. My fellow ward councillors and I have been overwhelmed with support from residents. We are grateful to all those businesses that backed our campaign and all the people who took the trouble to write in.

We’re still working to have the temporary community support officers made permanent, to have the police constables numbers restored and for the Council to deliver the extra police they promised local residents prior to the election. I’ll keep you in touch with how we get on. Please write to me here if you want to add your name to those that have already written in.

Stenton Butchers is at 55 Aldensley Road, Hammersmith, London, W6 9PL. You can phone them to book your order in advance on 020 8748 6121.

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