Word on the street: Open debate needed about Met’s response to crimewave


- Credit: Archant

I refer to Andrew Dismore’s letter in last week’s Ham&High. He helpfully muses on cost projections to Londoners if the mayor charged us to fund the Met to pre-2012 levels.

It is now clear that, in face of the government’s funding intransigence, a debate is desperately needed by Londoners about the state of the Met and crime.

Mr Dismore states the Met budget did not include reference to cuts in Camden police. It did, via the strengthening local policing report which it referrred to, requiring a cut of 91 police officers in the merged Camden and Islington borough.

Mr Dismore has also suggested that I am politically motivated when blaming the mayor for the current state of the Met and crime. So, let’s get politics out of the way first. He mentions that I was no 34 on the Conservative A list. It is true that in 2006, when this list was compiled, I did explore standing for parliament. However, I happily fell pregnant that year and made a lifestyle decision to give up trying to find a seat and to bring up my family and so decided to combine my family with non-partisan community activism and continue to do so to this day. I am sure that Mr Dismore does not mean to suggest that as a result of considering standing for parliament over a decade ago I am disqualified from speaking for our community in relation to the state of crime and the Met.

As readers of the Ham&High will know, I have campaigned vigorously in its pages on crime and the state of the Met over the last five years as the chairman of our Safer Neighbourhood Panel. They can judge for themselves whether my representations have been partisan.

But, given the mayor is the head of the Met since 2011 with the abolition of the Metropolitan Police Authority, he must carry the can for its ultra poor state on his watch. Mr Dismore has spent the last three of his letters in the Ham&High wringing his hands and rolling his eyes at my suggestions that the mayor is responsible for the state of the Met – it is but a mere observation of fact which is indisputable.

He has also spent his time stating what the mayor cannot do rather than what he can do. He has now identified that there is something the mayor can do – namely to hold a referendum. The advantage of a referendum is that Londoners can make an informed decision about whether or not they wish to suffer the decline of the Met and increased crime. But, he has dismissed this out of hand.

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It is the only tool left in the mayor’s armoury to remove the yoke of crime under which his constituents live given that he stated in October 2017 that there was nothing more that he can do.

As Mayor Khan and Mr Dismore sit on their pedestals with their fingers in their ears, languidly surveying the scene of disorganised chaos on the streets of the metropolis while using the Met as a political football, the suffering of Londoners increases/

Having saturated us with your deluge of negativisms Mr Dismore, let’s now hear what the mayor can do to fund the Met properly and to reduce crime. I look forward to your reply.