Redbridge councillors warn of rise in crime if police are not better funded

Kam Rai

Councillor Kam Rai. - Credit: Archant

Violent crime could rise in Redbridge and across the capital if the government does not provide more funding for the police, says Redbridge Council’s deputy leader.

The effect of coronavirus on the finances of the Metropolitan Police and City Hall means cuts of up to £110million may be necessary by 2022.

The Met has already had to make savings of £850m in the past decade.

Cllr Kam Rai (Lab, Goodmayes) said the government “must cough up the money” to reimburse the Met Police’s extra expenditure and loss of income caused by the pandemic.

READ MORE: Petition demanding government compensates Redbridge Council for Covid spendingHe said: “If they fail to do so, they run the risk of another rise in violent crime as lockdown is lifted.

“A decade of austerity has already had grave consequences for our police service and our communities, and further cuts would stretch the thin blue line to breaking point, putting the safety of our residents at risk.

“Given the incredible way Londoners have responded to this pandemic, it is completely unacceptable that Boris Johnson’s government is forcing a new era of austerity on Londoners.”

Cllr Judith Garfield (Lab, Barkingside), Local Assembly candidate for Havering and Redbridge, added that cuts over the past decade meant the police service was already “underresourced and overstretched”.

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She said: “It is outrageous that the Tories would even consider forcing the Met to make additional cuts by starving the service of the funding it urgently needs.

“The government should be protecting frontline policing, not making counterproductive cuts that will undermine efforts to tackle violent crime across our city.”

But the Home Office said London has already received “an unprecedented package of support”.

A spokesperson said: “We have been clear that police forces across the country will get the financial backing they need to see them through the coronavirus pandemic.

READ MORE: Redbridge ‘crime down despite Covid’“We previously announced the most substantial police funding increase since 2010 and continue to invest heavily in communities to tackle the root causes of violent crime and support vulnerable young people.

“Greater London Authority spending power has increased to £2.27billion on top of emergency funding.”

The Metropolitan Police will receive £2.9bn in funding this year and London areas worst impacted by violence received £48m over two years towards Violence Reduction Units.

The government has also promised to reimburse forces’ spending on personal protective equipment between March and the end of July.

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