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Frontline police cuts 'will create emergency'

PUBLISHED: 17:29 06 November 2015 | UPDATED: 17:52 06 November 2015

The London Assembly member for Islington, Hackney and Waltham Forest, Jennette Arnold

The London Assembly member for Islington, Hackney and Waltham Forest, Jennette Arnold

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Jennette Arnold has warned government cuts are "plunging Hackney's front line policing into its very own emergency".

Police campaign logoPolice campaign logo

Hackney’s London Assembly Member has backed Hackney Council’s campaign, along with the Gazette, to get 100 more officers back on the borough’s streets.

Swingeing cuts to the force have seen a 22 per cent reduction in numbers, down to just 597 from 770 five years ago, and the council along with Ms Arnold say more police are urgently needed to tackle growing levels of crime in Hackney – including gang activity.

Ms Arnold said: “With crime on the rise, including violent crime, what we need is a boost in a police numbers, but instead they’re falling.

“With difficult decisions ahead, we must obviously make the case for Hackney.

Met Police Commissioner Bernard Hogan HoweMet Police Commissioner Bernard Hogan Howe

“The Met Commissioner has made clear his concerns that the capital could lose thousands of police officers.”

Police Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe has warned, in an unprecedented intervention, that London could lose as many as 8,000 police officers if planned government cuts of £1bn and changes to the police funding formula go ahead.

The Commissioner went on to say he was “genuinely worried” about the safety of London, with a return to police forced to rely on funding levels not seen since the 1970s. The Commissioner also raised questions about the Met’s ability to deal with a re-run of the 2011 London riots or a major terrorist attack if the cuts went ahead.

If shared equally across all the Met’s frontline teams, including firearms and sexual offences specialists, borough police forces would lose about 25 per cent of their officers, equating to 152 in Hackney.

If, however, specialist units are protected and the 8,000 officers were all lost from London boroughs, Hackney would lose 268 police officers, the equivalent of 44 per cent of the current local force.

Coming alongside plans being discussed to axe all of London’s PCSOs – including the 36 remaining in Hackney – Ms Arnold warned that the Commissioner’s comments showed that another round of vicious cuts would “devastate the police force”.

Mike Penning, Minister for Policing, Crime, Criminal Justice and Victims, said: “The changes we have made since 2010 have made it easier for the police to do their job by cutting red tape, scrapping unnecessary targets, and giving officers the discretion to use their professional judgement.

“Decisions on the operational deployment of resources in the Metropolitan Police are matters for the Commissioner, in association with the Mayor of London, but there is no question that the police still have the resources to do their important work. What matters is how officers are deployed, not how many of them there are in total.”

To sign the petition calling for an increase of 100 officers in Hackney, go to http://chn.ge/1jcLa7C.

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