Campaigners anxious as deadline looms for 100 more police officers in Lambeth


Lambeth has suffered a 20% cut in the number of police officers between May 2010 and December 2012, much higher than most other boroughs.


By Seema Hakim 

A public meeting was held in Clapham Library on Monday as part of the “100 More Police” Campaign launched last month by Lambeth Council.

The meeting was considered the final call for more officers in Lambeth and took place just one week before Boris Johnson announces his plans for police cuts across the capital.

The main point of discussion surrounded the reason why Lambeth is in need of more police, and also featured a display board where residents were able to write personal messages. They were also able to make short films about their experiences of crime in Lambeth, which will be presented to the mayor.

Lambeth has suffered from a 20% cut in the number of police officers between May 2010 and December 2012, in comparison to 11% of cuts across the capital’s 32 boroughs. The council is calling for 100 more police to raise the number of officers to 938 and to even out the percentage of cuts Lambeth has faced in relation to neighbouring boroughs.

Council Leader, Cllr Lib Peck, said, “This is a crucially important campaign. We believe having 100 more police in Lambeth is essential to keep people safe and cutting crime.”

Ms Peck continued to say that Lambeth has already lost more than 210 officers over the last two years, the biggest cut of any London borough.

“We are simply calling for a fair deal for Lambeth,” she added.

Although crime in Lambeth has fallen in recent years, the borough has the highest rate of serious youth crime across the capital. The percentage for 2011-2012 was 11% up on the previous year, according to the Strategic Plan of the Lambeth Safeguarding Children’s board.

Last year, 448 young people were either threatened or robbed with a knife. Of these incidents, eight of the victims received life threatening injuries.

As well as youth violence, Lambeth also has the highest rate of robbery throughout the capital, with over 2,600 victims between February 2012 and January 2013, according to figures released by the Metropolitan Police.

The campaigners believes that the cuts are even more unacceptable considering Lambeth is considered to be a ‘priority borough’ by the Home Office, especially in relation to gang related crime.

Cabinet member for Safer and Stronger Neighbourhoods, Cllr Jack Hopkins, said that 100 more police officers would let the council continue to combat crime at a local level.

“Local policing works for Lambeth and we know community confidence comes from good, local visible policing,” he said.

Lambeth council believes that extra officers are needed to maintain the borough’s work to tackle violence against women and girls, bring down the robbery rate and address its position as a top three London borough for serious crime.

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