The Merton Liberal Democrats are promoting community-based policing as the answer to the area’s rising crime rates.
Merton Liberal Democrats are promoting ‘community-based policing’ as the answer to the area’s rising crime rates.
The party hopes for a better dialogue between the public and police in order to better allocate crime-fighting resources.
Wimbledon Park by-election candidate, Dave Busby, solicited the views of residents on how to tackle crime.
Mr Busby said: “The message I’ve been hearing on the doorstep this week has been loud and clear – the public don’t feel that the police are doing enough to tackle crime, and are often slow to respond to incidents.”
Merton experienced increased violence last year, including a record 19 knife crimes.
London Mayoral candidate Brian Paddick supports localising the Police’s approach to crime.
He said: “As a former Borough Commander in Merton I know how to bring the community and the police working together to cut crime.”
Mr Paddick emphasised he would increase patrols in local hotspots of anti-social behaviour, were he elected.
The party would also reintroduce town centre police sergeants and place a youth liaison officer with every Safer Neighbourhood Team.
Marcus Beale, of the Wimbledon Civic Forum – an organisation promoting practical action on community matters – approves of the party’s approach.
He said: “It’s important that the Police keep up their presence. A focused town centre team is a good thing – I’d support that.
“The high level of youth unemployment is creating very disaffected youth and it’s important that we find ways of engaging with them.
“The biggest problem in Wimbledon is drunkenness at night-time; there’s a high concentration of pubs in the town centre.”
Mayor of Merton Gilli Lewis-Lavender expressed similar concerns.
She said: “When I’m in town I’m shocked at all the drunken people I see coming out of pubs.
“I believe alcohol is a major cause of youth violence.”
By implementing their community policies, the Liberal Democrats aim to deal with these issues.