Friday 23 March 2018

Police cuts are destroying our community

The Police service is at breaking point. Whilst you may doubt such a statement if I say it, when the Conservative supporting Daily Express says it, you really should start to listen.

Cuts to police budgets are a false economy. Whilst it enables the government to say that "we are keeping household tax bills down", the net effect on Taxpayers wallets and quality of life is devastating. We now have to turn our homes into mini Fort Knox type security bunkers. I used to do a paper round in Mill Hill. Recently I noticed just how many homes on my old round are completely inaccessible, with security gates, high fences and cameras. This is a sign of just how worried people are. These precautions cost a small fortune. Insurance premiums are rocketing in Mill Hill and other areas of Barnet due to the high burglary rate. We may be saving a few pennies on our tax bill, but that is more than made up for by hikes in premiums.

Here is a breakdown of crimes in Mill Hill over the last few months from the Police website. (note that this is reported crime. Many of us can't be bothered reporting crimes as we know that there is zero chance of anything happening about it. Sadly there are no figures for the true level of crime in Mill Hill )

If you live in a district where there is a burglary nearly every day, then you will be paying through the nose for household insurance. Likewise with Vehicle crimes. This directly feeds into your premium.

We have the choice. Fund the police properly and see crime fall or cut their budgets and pay through the nose for insurance, security measures and live in fear of crime. The Mayor of London offered Barnet a 2 for 1 increase in beat police numbers. If Barnet Council would fund one officer, the Mayor would fund another. The Barnet Conservatives turned this down. Sadly, rather than Barnet Council working with the Mayor to make our streets safe and bring in more resources, the relationship has degenerated to name calling. The Conservative Council passed a motion declaring that Mayor Sadiq Khan was an "Enemy of the People".

In Mill Hill, people are only too aware of the problems that these police budget cuts are causing. I don't want to live in a Fort Knox style house, in fear of my safety and property.

I believe that if local people had the choice, they'd rather see their cash spent on more police and safer streets rather than high insurance premiums. I'd like to see the police given the resources they need.

One interesting issue that the Daily Express picked up on was that the Police do not spend enough time reviewing CCTV footage to catch criminals. I had first hand experience of this when Mill Hill Music Festival banners were slashed by thugs carrying knives in Mill Hill Broadway. Despite repeated requests, nothing was done. I am a local. I walk through Mill Hill every day. I requested the opportunity to review the footage, to see if I could identify the culprits, as the though was it may have been someone with a grudge against the festival. Sadly they could not facilitate this sensible request.

I genuinely think the Police do a stirling job in difficult circumstances. We need to give them the tools to do the job. 

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