Stamford Hill anti-crime stalwart says police cuts have had ‘phenomenal’ negative impact

Police officers take part in a community action day at Gillett Square, Hackney

Police officers take part in a community action day at Gillett Square, Hackney - Credit: Archant

A community safety stalwart who helped bring about change in kerb crawling laws has backed Hackney Council’s campaign calling for better police funding.

Muriel Gordon is chair of the Stamford Hill safer neighbourhoods panel and has been for more than 10 years. In 2001 she was made an MBE for services to community safety after working with the Met to tackle prostitution in her area.

Now she says huge funding cuts to the Met, which have seen Hackney lose one in four of its officers since 2010, are creating real problems.

“The impact is phenomenal,” she told the Gazette. “If you don’t have enough police they aren’t going to be a part of the community and they need to be to gather intelligence.

“In this area there is a lot of anti-Semitism, and the Muslim community is also targeted.

“It’s a really nice area to live in whatever your background or religion – we live side by side. When we had local police it worked really well and they were part of the community. People could engage, but now there’s only one or two. They do a great job under the strain but they need more resources.”

The Met has been forced to make £600million of savings since 2010 with £400m more to come by 2021. In real terms, that’s resulted in Hackney losing 200 officers in seven years.

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The town hall’s Foot the Bill campaign was launched in October, when crime chief Cllr Caroline Selman and mayor Phil Glanville wrote to home secretary Amber Rudd and chancellor Philip Hammond saying: “Government platitudes about being more efficient do nothing to address the reality on the ground or the rapidly growing concerns among our residents and businesses.”

Following Hackney’s lead, other councils are now backing the campaign and sending their own letters to ministers.

Muriel believes the politicians in Westminster don’t know what they are doing.

“The ministers should come and live in our communities because something that’s on paper doesn’t relate to what goes on on the ground,” she said. “At our meetings we hear about prostitution, drug dealing, moped gang crimes – how long have you got?

“We are frustrated for the police. It’s clear they are under resourced and there’s very little we can do except shout about it and hope someone’s listening. We have to keep going.”

Muriel said the issues seen elsewhere in the borough, with people not bothering to report crimes they feel police can’t prioritise, are also happening in her area.

“There is that feeling,” she added. “Because they know how short staffed police are and they think: ‘How high a priority is this?’”

To send a letter to the home office or find out more about the campaign, click here.