Opinion: Holding Boris to task over extra police
PUBLISHED: 08:30 07 September 2019
Since being elected by less than 1pc of the population, the prime minister, Boris Johnson, has wasted little time in making announcement after announcement about new spending commitments, or so they seem.
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One is promising to deliver 20,000 new police officers by 2022. This would bring back police numbers to the same levels at the start of the decade. Opportunistic or not, it's a commitment to which I fully intend holding his feet to the fire in making sure we get the police we need. Too often over the past few years we have seen serious violent crime get a grip in our communities including senseless knife crime.Unmesh Desai, our local Greater London Assembly Member, has been leading calls for more bobbies to be on the beat, and he's right. The need for improved police visibility remains high on the list of most people's concerns. If additional government funding is finally forthcoming, it is vital the Met Police can use it to increase the number of neighbourhood police officers in Barking and Dagenham. One of the reasons we have seen a reduction in police patrols on our streets is due to the removal of officers on counter terrorism manoeuvres elsewhere in the capital. And yet it is this type of community policing which is vital in gathering on-the-ground intelligence that helps prevent extremism in all its forms.
If delivered, new police numbers would be a much-needed change in direction from a government intent on sacrificing public services with devastating cuts - cuts which have held back policing in Barking and Dagenham.