Letter to editor, July reply to JLC

Dear Editor,

I am writing in response to Jessica Learmond-Criqui, whose most recent letter provides further proof that this important debate over police resources is in danger of going around in circles.

It has now become something of a wearying formality for me to address some of the glaring errors made by Ms Learmond-Criqui in my opening paragraphs.

Firstly, in her most recent letter, she chooses to repeat her observation that the £462,794 budget set aside for community events at Dock Beach in Newham could be diverted to the Metropolitan Police. As I made clear in my previous letter, the funding for these events comes from local business rates and the rules dictate that the proceeds can only be spent in the local area.

Ms Learmond-Criqui then goes on to unfairly claim that the Mayor has cut the Met’s budget. The Mayor is investing record amounts of money into the police from City Hall. It is the Government that sets the Police Funding Settlement and so they are squarely responsible for the £1 billion that the Met will have to withhold from their budget by 2022/2023.

At the end of her letter, she lays the gauntlet down to me to influence the Mayor to stem the rising tide of crime. I can reassure her that I have and will continue to hold robustly the Mayor to account on violent crime and all issues affecting Londoners.

Moving forward, the new Prime Minister has pledged to deploy 20,000 more police officers across the UK in the next few years.

After years of campaigning on this issue, this is obviously a welcome and refreshing move in the right direction. However, I share the concerns of the College of Policing who have recently warned of the logistical challenges involved with training the new officers due to the current lack of instructors. I will be scrutinising the Prime Minister’s plans to vet, train and allocate the 20,000 officers over this short period of time.

In any case, to get to grips with violent crime, we must see the boost to officer numbers complemented by an ambitious strategy to tackle poverty and social inequality, as well as a pledge to plug the yawning gaps in youth service provision in the capital.

Despite our differences, I am glad that Ms Learmond-Criqui is in agreement that we desperately need to see comprehensive national leadership on this.

Yours sincerely,

Andrew Dismore AM

London Assembly Member for Barnet and Camden