Parks police cuts could hit house prices near Regent’s Park
House prices around Regent’s Park could plummet after swingeing cuts to the Royal Parks’ police budgets, it is feared.
Regent’s Park and Primrose Hill have lost all six of their Police Community Support Officers (PCSO) as spending across the eight Royal Parks is slashed by 24 per cent – the highest in the capital.
A single police constable will compensate for the loss of the PCSOs.
According to the Friends of Regent’s Park and Primrose Hill, home owners could see thousands wiped from their house prices if a feared rise in crime is realised.
Malcolm Kafetz, chairman of the Friends, said: “Parks are worth an absolute fortune if you work out the value they add to the surrounding houses and the stamp duty that the government gets from each of the �3million houses around there.
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“They should actually be investing in the parks because it will increase their value.”
Last year Royal Parks chief executive Mark Camley signed off on a 25 per cent reduction in staff and �5.5million spending cuts over the next five years.
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Figures released under the Freedom of Information Act reveal the Royal Parks are the worst hit of the police boroughs in London.
The average borough will cut spending by 4.3 per cent compared to last year, with Camden and Westminster having to shave just 3.8 and 3.1 per cent from their respective budgets.
A Metropolitan Police spokesman said: “While the budget for Royal Parks operation command unit has been reduced we are confident that – due to internal restructuring and changes to shift patterns – we will be able to maintain services to keep the Royal Parks as safe as possible.”
Mr Kafetz said the parks are already feeling the effects – with one park user reporting two boys attacking ducks in the park.
He said: “If you lose six PCSOs in a 680-acre park it makes them very thin on the ground. Even if they don’t have the power of the constables the most important thing is to frighten criminals off. It’s very, very sad.”