John Biggs, Mayor of Tower Hamlets, has announced a multi-million pound investment in community safety to increase the number of council funded police officers in the borough to thirty-nine (39).
The Mayor raised concerns that cuts to the police’s budget has reduced the number of police in Tower Hamlets and has committed £3m of funding over the next three years to help protect neighbourhood policing.
The police officers are tasked with tackling areas where crime and anti-social behaviour are issues and they will tackle acid attacks, drug dealing and violent crime.
14 officers will be responsible for tackling crime on estates and 25 additional officers will work across the borough.
A new ‘Designing Out Crime’ officer will also help planners, housing providers and developers to ensure that future developments consider community safety issues from the outset and design them out before being built.
Mayor Biggs said:
“Community safety is an absolute priority. I want to make sure we keep police officers on the streets delivering neighbourhood policing that stops crime and deals with the issues facing residents.
“The Government might think cutting police budgets is acceptable but we do not. Tower Hamlets is committed to working with and investing in the police to protect residents.
“Ongoing cuts to the public purse make it more important than ever to maximise resources by working closely with our all our partners to deliver the best services possible for our residents.”
Councillor Asma Begum, Cabinet member for community safety added:
“Residents have told us that crime and anti-social behaviour are some of their main concerns, and we are committed to doing all we can to make Tower Hamlets a better place to live, visit and work.
“Our new police officers will help tackle crime on the streets, act as a reassuring presence for our residents and help deter those who are considering criminal or anti-social behaviour.”
Tower Hamlets has the highest volume of anti-social behaviour calls to the police in London and 31 per cent of respondents in the council’s Annual Residents Survey 2017 showed that crime was a concern for them.
The council invests almost £8m a year in services to tackle substance misuse in Tower Hamlets.
Susmita Sen, Chief Executive of Tower Hamlets Homes, said:
“We work hard to make sure our residents have safe homes and neighbourhoods on our estates and we won’t allow those who commit crime and anti-social behaviour to threaten this.
“These extra police officers will be a huge boost to the work of our anti-social behaviour officers and together we’ll be able to make a real difference to the lives of our residents.”
A campaign to address issues around the use of Laughing Gas was launched recently as part of the council’s broader commitment to ensuring community safety in the borough.