Letter to editors after Paris tragedy
The tragedy of the Paris terrorist mass murders must inevitably raise the question about the wisdom of the Government’s and London Mayor’s plans for huge cuts in our emergency services.
At a time when the terrorist threat has never been higher, how can it be right to cut almost £1 billion more from the Metropolitan Police, on top of the £600 million so far? This will be the end of the last PCSOs and the last we’ll see of what remains of neighbourhood policing. With the Police Commissioner also predicting cuts of 5,000 to 8,000 fully warranted police officers as a consequence, it also signals the last we will see of bobbies on the beat, too, with cuts on this scale equating to 100 officers fewer per borough. There will be no more ‘eyes and ears’ on the ground, so important in contributing to the fight against terrorism in London.
If that wasn’t bad enough , two years ago the Mayor closed 10 fire stations ( including Camden’s Belsize and Clerkenwell Stations, with Barnet’s Mill Hill getting a last minute reprieve) and cut 14 fire engines. This has resulted in increased emergency attendance times in 6 of Barnet’s and 14 of Camden’s wards. Now, the Mayor wants to axe even more. He plans to cut yet another 13 fire engines- when there are fully costed alternatives to saving the same amount, without significant impact on the front line.
We need to reduce the deficit, but the price of austerity should not be met by failing in the Government ’s and Mayor’s first duty- to keep people safe as they go about their normal business. Surely , in light of recent events, they must think again.
Labour London Assembly Member for Barnet and Camden