Well done to our local police and their borough commander Lucy D'Orsi for keeping Hammersmith and Fulham safe and relatively quiet. Let's hope they can maintain the same level of protection and vigilance over coming days and weeks.
The shame is that they will have to do this in the face of H&F Tory council’s cuts of over £2 million to the local crime and anti-social behaviour budget.
This February, the council cut the budget for crime and anti-social behaviour by £2,212,000 in 2011-2014. The page references below are to the council’s own budget document here.
• On-street enforcement cut by £1,095,000, losing eight officers (p. 783)
• Out-of-hours service cut by £297,000, losing three officers (p. 784)
• Police working hours cut by £360,000 (p. 785)
• Safer Neighbourhood Police Teams cut by £465,000 (p. 785)
This looked bad back in February - it looks even worse now. The trouble is that H&F council is run by peculiarly inefficient, economically illiterate Tory ideologues who simply don't believe enough in community services. Why else would they be cutting £4 for every £3 demanded by the government?
At the last council election, Labour pledged to do more than the Tories to fight crime, including by putting extra 24/7 police task squads in the five wards with the highest crime within two years and ensuring extra 24/7 squads in all 16 wards by the end of four years. The money would have come from tackling Tory inefficiency and unfairness, including cutting the council’s propaganda budget, ending 16% salary increases for council officials and other perks, cutting assistant directors and senior managers and selling high-value, council-owned office space, not community assets such as youth clubs, community centres and housing. (You can get more details from here.)
The local Tories are peddling myths about Hammersmith's debt burden - see here for why their economic arguments just don’t stack up.
H&F Tories believe in slashing the state for the sake of it. Council leader Stephen Greenhalgh’s right-hand man, Councillor Harry Phibbs, has openly called for deeper cuts (see here)
Cutting £2.2 million from Hammersmith & Fulham's crime and anti-social behaviour budget was and is wrong. The council should think again.