'Fund your own police' plan in Hampstead attracts £180k pledges in four weeks
PUBLISHED: 15:08 05 November 2015 | UPDATED: 15:32 05 November 2015
Hampstead residents have already raised £180,000 towards paying for their own dedicated police officers for three years.
People who live in Frognal and Fitzjohns and Hampstead Town wards have pledged the money from their own pockets to raise £60,000 a year, just four weeks after the launch of a crowdfunding scheme.
The cash promised so far will fund one dedicated ward officer under a scheme which would then see the Met match fund another officer for the neighbourhood.
Jessica Learmond-Criqui, who chairs the Frognal and Fitzjohns Safer neighbourhood panel, still hopes to secure a total of £600,000 over three years to fund five PCs and a Sergeant dedicated to Hampstead.
She has accused the Met of “pillaging” Hampstead’s safer neighbourhood teams as the force has cut £600 million from its budget and looks to slash a further £800million by 2020.
She warned since the closure of Hampstead Police Station in January last year crime in Hampstead “has taken on a more violent and aggressive quality than we are used to”.
She also warned of a “breakdown of basic contract between citizen and state”.
She said: “Since launching this initiative, the offers to fund the officers continue to roll in and thank you all for doing so. Our aim is to raise £200,000 a year. If all 18,000 people who live in the two wards would contribute just £13 per annum, we could fund up to five officers and a sergeant.
“We are one of the first communities to propose this type of funding scheme for our area.
“I have no doubt that when other communities, wealthy or otherwise, understand that they can do the same, they will do so.
“They will have no choice but to do so as the government seems undeterred in their rush to close down the police force in this country.”
It comes as seven of the UK’s most senior police figures this week threatened the government with legal action over the “potentially serious implications” of further police funding cuts.
Six police and crime commissioners have been joined by Stephen Greenhalgh, London’s deputy mayor for policing and crime, in urging the government to delay a decision on force budgets expected in this month’s spending review.
In a letter to policing minister Mike Penning, the group said changes to the police funding formula would result in cuts that are “unfair, unjustified and deeply flawed”.
Mr Greenhalgh has signed the letter alongside the police and crime commissioners of the Cumbria, Lancashire, Devon and Cornwall, Merseyside, North Yorkshire and Thames Valley forces.