Camden Council pledges more police on streets amid 4.99pc council tax rise

Richard Olszewski

Richard Olszewski - Credit: Harry Taylor

Camden Council has approved a tax hike for residents but also confirmed they will be paying for more police on the borough’s streets, during a heated council meeting on Tuesday.

Cabinet member Richard Olszewski, who announced the budget, took the wind out of the Conservative alternative budget sails by pledging to part-fund more police in Camden.

Cllr Olszewski, who represents Fortune Green, announced the council would be putting forward £540,000 for a combination of the extra police officers, safer streets workers, and council support workers to work across the borough, including in some already identified hot-spots.

This follows an initial pilot which has been running since November.

He praised having them concept of them working under the council. “They are under our control, if you match-fund officers with the Metropolitan Police, then they are under their remit, understandably, but that means you will have much less control over them.”

Cllr Olszewski told the meeting the move wasn’t in response to the recent stabbings in Kentish Town. “Work has been going on for many months. It’s not related to what happened last week,” he said.

Match-funding police with the Mayor of London’s office had been a focal point of the Tories’ unsuccessful counter proposal. They pledged to fund 18 extra police officers in Camden.

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Cllr Gio Spinella, leading his party for the first time, said their amendment would make for a “safer and cleaner” Camden.

According to the budget paper, the council has faced grant cuts of £10million in 2018/2019 and like-for-like grant cuts since 2011/12 are now at £118m.

The 4.99per cent rise includes a 2pc rise towards Adult Social Care within the borough.

However the debate threatened to turn ugly as Labour councillor for Kilburn, Douglas Beattie confronted the Conservatives referring to a quote describing Tory politicians as “vermin.”

Cllr Beattie told the meeting the Conservative government was “ripping apart” communities like Camden. He then quoted famous Labour figure Nye Bevan.

He said : “He [Bevan] said ‘the Tories are lower than vermin’, and I don’t blame him for saying that. They don’t understand ordinary people’s lives.”

Camden Mayor Richard Cotton responded by saying councillors should remember they are “opponents, not enemies.”

It is understood Tory councillors intend to lodge a complaint about Cllr Beattie’s words, and conduct.