Camden crime chief claims: ‘Funding cuts threaten Primrose Hill and Regent’s Park safety’

Cllr Jonathan Simpson. Picture: Nigel Sutton

Cllr Jonathan Simpson. Picture: Nigel Sutton - Credit: Nigel Sutton

Primrose Hill and Regent’s Park could become hotbeds of crime and anti-social behaviour if nearly £9million is not spent on policing, according to Camden Council’s crime chief.

Cllr Jonathan Simpson, cabinet member for community safety, has urged in a letter to home office minister Mike Penning MP last week that the government pledge £8.8million to keep dedicated officers policing London’s eight Royal Parks, including Regent’s Park and Primrose Hill.

If cuts to the Royal Parks Constabulary are made, Cllr Simpson believes the “raft” of criminal activity and anti-social behaviour affecting the surrounding area could spill into the parks.

He is backed by the Mayor’s Office of Policing and Crime (MOPAC), which has requested that the government renews its previous 10-year commitment to funding the constabulary’s Operational Command Unit (OCU).

Cllr Simpson said: “We are greatly concerned that the Royal Parks Constabulary will be cut.

“This will have an impact on the safety of the parks, especially in Camden where our parks are right next to a dense urban area with anti-social behaviour.

He added: “It’s really important that people can go there with confidence, knowing that there’s not going to be a problem whether it’s a woman running first thing in the morning, or a family going there.”

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The OCU is made up of more than 100 police officers.

It is funded by a 10-year government grant from the Home Office now up for renewal.

A spokesman for the Royal Parks said: “We would be very concerned about the possible consequences if police numbers were reduced further.”