Return 100 police officers to Hackney’s streets

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Return 100 police officers to Hackney’s streets

This petition had 414 supporters
Hackney Council started this petition to Stephen Greenhalgh, Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime and

Over the past five years Hackney has lost 170 police officers. In October 2010 we had 770, now we have about 600.

This 22 per cent cut is by far the largest when compared to equivalent boroughs. For instance, Newham has 3% fewer officers and Waltham Forest has 10% more. Hackney has suffered a huge reduction in PCSOs, from 100 to 37.

Now, for the first time in many years, certain types of crime are rising in our borough, particularly offences of violence and theft. The fear of crime is also rising.

While we appreciate the need for the Met to make savings, we believe its reduction in Hackney is excessive, disproportionate and counter-productive, and risks undermining our long-term downward trend of crime, made possible through the strong and effective partnership between the police and the Council. 

Over the past 13 years, crime in Hackney has fallen by 34.7%, equating to 13,000 fewer victims. This positive trend is now changing in certain areas.

Hackney's 2014/15 crime statistics show a 26% increase in Violence with Injury, an 18% increase in Criminal Damage, and the long-term downward trend in Robbery almost plateauing.

Comparing the first three months of this financial year with the same period in 2014/15 raises further concerns: Violence with Injury up 10%, Criminal Damage up 30%, Robbery up 17% and Theft from Person up 46%.

The Met argues that a change in the reporting of crime has impacted on the statistics, but that is not all that’s at play here.     

Since 2010 the population of Hackney has grown by more than 20,000 (a 9% increase), and there has been an ever-growing influx of thousands of people every night to popular places such as Shoreditch and Dalston.  

As well as being stretched generally, such is the shortage of officers that the local police have had to disband Operation Bantam, which for over a decade had been a critical element of the borough’s record of reducing gang violence. Where once we had 40 officers dedicated to gangs, up until the start of November this had been reduced to just six. It has now increased to 10, though the extra officers have come from within Hackney.

The ramifications of cuts to policing have been only too clear to read in news story after news story this year. Since January we have had four murders on the streets of Hackney, as well as several shootings and stabbings. In October, a police officer was shot in the street by a suspected gang-member. It has been a long time since Hackney had such a distressing year.

Residents in Hackney are also becoming more concerned. The Met’s Public Attitudes Survey reports a rise in the percentage of borough residents who are ‘worried’ about crime – from 24% (2010) to 38% (2014).

The rationale behind the Met’s cuts to Hackney is based solely on a one-year snapshot of demand taken from 2010/11. A lot has changed in Hackney since then, and the Met’s stance of doggedly sticking to its strategy is putting our residents' safety at risk.

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