Barnet's Conservative Mayor-designate and self-confessed comedian, Cllr David Longstaff, refused to lobby the Mayor of London to protect neighbourhood policing from further cuts at last week's Community Leadership committee - despite being the Tory councillor in charge of crime and policing matters.
Cllr Longstaff used his casting vote as Chair of the Community Leadership committee to defeat a Labour motion calling for Mayor Boris Johnson to protect the popular neighbourhood policing from cuts which in Barnet has seen neighbourhood police teams reduced from nine officers (six PCSOs and three police officers) to just two officers (one police officer and one PCSO). Cllr Longstaff voted against the motion on the basis that he was concerned about the nation's finances.
Since 2010, 121 police community support officers and 81 police officers have been cut from Barnet's police and hundreds of officers are 'abstracted' each month from Barnet duties to plug gaps elsewhere in London.
Meanwhile, reported crime in Barnet has shot up by 6.4 per cent over the last calendar year (London average 4.3 per cent), with residential burglary up 4 per cent (London-wide down 9 per cent), robbery up 11 per cent, violence with injury up 7 per cent, theft from a motor vehicle up 6 per cent, theft from a person up 16 per cent and criminal damage up 8 per cent.
The Met faces a further £400 million in cuts over the next four years, on top of the £600 million already imposed so far, and today the Institute of Fiscal Studies warned cuts in the forthcoming budget would hit police and councils hardest.
Labour's Community Leadership Spokesperson, Cllr Kath McGuirk said “Crime has shot up over the last year in Barnet and neighbourhood policing is still very much under threat so we need to fight against any further cuts to it.
"It was extremely disappointing that Cllr Longstaff actually used his casting vote as Chair to prevent the committee from writing to the Mayor of London about cuts to policing.
Cllr Alan Schneiderman, who moved the motion at the committee meeting, said: "Both Cllr Longstaff and the Tory London Assembly Candidate for Barnet & Camden also refused to vote for our recent budget amendment that proposed funding for six additional local police officers.
"Neighbourhood policing may not survive another round of cuts, and the Tories won't do anything about it."
1. For more information on recent crime statistics see:
2. For more information on police cuts and abstractions see:
3. For coverage of the IFS comments on the budget see: http://www.standard.co.uk/business/budget-2016-george-osborne-s-cuts-to-hit-police-and-councils-hardest-a3202691.html
For more information contact:
Cllr Kath McGuirk: firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the Barnet Labour Group: 020 8359 2568