|Roehampton Misses Out on Extra Police|
Borough has less 'bobbies on the beat' than 10 years ago say Council
Councillors are renewing their calls for more police resources for the borough after it emerged that Roehampton ward will not receive an anticipated extra allocation of police officers.
They say that the borough is still being short-changed by the Mayor and the Home Office over the allocation of police officers and has nearly 80 fewer uniformed police officers than it did ten years ago.
The Mayor and Home Office have consistently argued that this gap in police manpower has been plugged by the introduction of community support officers (PCSOs) – even though these officers do not have the full range of powers available to a uniformed constable.
But now it has emerged that contrary to pledges to provide additional PCSOs to the more densely populated wards in the borough, five wards in the borough including Roehampton which qualify on size of population are to miss out on these extra resources. There is no indication of when, if ever, these wards will receive their full complement.
The council's executive member for regeneration and community safety Cllr James Cousins said: "Some wards in the borough will be getting additional PCSOs which is welcome, but five wards will not, even though they qualify on all the criteria used to determine the allocation.But there is a wider problem here. The men and women who work locally as PCSOs do a fine job under difficult circumstances but even their most ardent supporters could not argue that they can do the same demanding job as a fully-fledged police officer."
The council is now calling on the Mayor, Home Office and Metropolitan Police Authority to not only deliver these missing PCSOs, but to also urgently provide extra uniformed constables. Wandsworth currently has 584 police officers to patrol its streets. Figures given to Parliament by the Home Office in February 1997 showed the borough's allocation stood at 662. Last year, the borough's most senior police officer told councillors that Wandsworth had "not had its fair share of police officers for some time".
Cllr. Cousins added, "This steady decline in the number of bobbies on the beat across Wandsworth means that we have something like three per cent of London's police officers to deal with around four per cent of London's crime. This is totally inequitable.
The other wards which have missed out are Queenstown ward and St Mary's Park ward, both in Battersea; Bedford ward in Balham and Earlsfield ward.
April 6, 2007