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Make London Safer

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25 October 2012

So far this year seven teenagers have been murdered on the streets of London. I have met the parents of three of them. The fact that the lives of Kwame Ofusu-Asare, Nathaniel Brown and Kevin Ssali have been brutally cut short serves to remind us all of the huge challenges we face in addressing violence on our streets. It is just not right that young people are losing their lives in this way.

While I understand the Met Police face huge challenges in tackling knives and violence in our capital and acknowledge that progress has been made, we all know that there is so much more to be done. This is why I cannot fathom why this Government is wasting nearly £100 million on elections for Police and Crime Commissioners when that money could be used to tackle serious youth violence, and preventing crimes happening in the first place.

To look at the wider picture of the Coalition’s priorities, only £18 million has been allocated to preventing gang, gun and knife crime between 2011 and 2013. When I meet the families of those youngsters who have lost their lives on our streets, I just cannot understand how Ministers can justify their budget priorities when it comes to policing and crime.

Since the Coalition came to power, the number of police on London’s streets has fallen by 463. Between now and 2015 it is likely that another 1000 officers will go. The Met also faces huge financial challenges, with reports suggesting they must find a further £232 million worth of savings by 2015. I am concerned that external pressures on their budget will have a detrimental effect on local, visible, accessible policing which will ultimately result in people feeling less safe on our streets.

The police in our capital do an incredibly difficult, and important, job in tackling crime and making our streets safer. It is wrong that the agenda of this Government makes their work so much harder in stretching their resources and cutting many of their staff.

Yesterday I made a speech on this issue in the House of Commons. You can read my contribution in full here

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