Rose to speak at 6.20 pm
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Kate Osamor (Edmonton) (Lab/Co-op): I stand here in solidarity with the police and crime commissioners and policing staff across the UK who are facing cuts, and I join them in urging the policing Minister to halt the proposed changes to the police funding formula, which are, to quote the PCCs’ open letter,
“unfair, unjustified and deeply flawed”.
I am strongly opposed to the proposed policing cuts, under which London will lose 11.3% of its central grant, which equates to £184 million in annual funding for its police service—equivalent to many forces’ entire budget or the loss of 3,000 police officers. In the middle of October, the capital’s most senior police office told a meeting of Enfield residents that he feared for the safety of London as a result of the proposed cuts, and I agree with him.
The situation for my constituency is critical. Recent figures show violent crime has soared in London over the past 12 months, especially in the borough of Enfield, in which there are 18 offences every day. The level of youth violence has increased by 19% over the last 12 months, compared with the London average of 13%. In the same period, while London saw a 3% fall in the number of homicides, Enfield saw a rise of more than 250%. It is now 7%, which is the joint highest in the capital. Enfield cannot afford any more cuts. The region has been historically underfunded through the distribution of grants to London boroughs. In the last five years, two of its police stations have closed and more than 100 police officers and PCSOs have been lost.
I ask the policing Minister to think about the open letter. The attempt to appease PCCs for threatening judicial review has not helped. Given the extent of the opposition, I ask that the Government go further than merely refining the proposals, and radically rethink them. These cuts are unsafe and unjust.