Focusing on Crime - increased Police Resources are needed in
We support the work of our Police and understand the limited resources that they have at their disposal. BRAG and the Bloomsbury Association - supported by a growing list of local groups and businesses - are nevertheless campaigning to increase police resources in the three wards of South Camden. We feel, as stated in the Metropolitan Police Review, that the level of crime IS a measure of the resources required.
In Bloomsbury Ward, total crime has increased from 369 to 748 crimes per month in two years with an increasing upward trend. This is 3 times the Camden Ward average. The “crimes per officer” ratio is an incredible 187 crimes per officer per month! It is very clear that the numbers of police do not match the level of crime in both Holborn/Covent Garden and Bloomsbury where the police have to deal with 3 or 4 times as much crime as in the rest of the borough.
The Analysis on Bloomsbury Crime [which can be downloaded HERE] includes information from the House of Commons Home Affairs Committee Policing for the future Tenth Report of Session 2017–19. The summary concludes: Policing is struggling to cope in the face of changing and rising crimes, as a result of falling staff numbers, outdated technology, capabilities and structures, and fragmented leadership and direction. Without significant reform and investment, communities will be increasingly let down. Many ‘volume’ crimes, including robbery, theft from the person, and vehicle related theft, have been increasing sharply after a long period of decline. While recorded crimes have risen by 32% in the last three years, the number of charges or summons has decreased by 26%, and the number of arrests is also down. Neighbourhood policing, which is vital to the service’s response to many types of crime, is being eroded: we found that forces had lost at least a fifth of their neighbourhood policing capacity, on average, since 2010.
Crime levels in Bloomsbury have increased by 100% over two years, three times the level considered in the report over two years rather than three. This is a staggeringly large increase relative to the reported statistic and does indeed point to the community being let down.
The Mayor’s office is determined to restore neighbourhood policing, by putting 2 dedicated Ward Officers and PCSOs (who know and are known to the communities they serve) back at the heart of London. They say they will go beyond this minimum level of coverage, enabling those wards to have more dedicated Ward Officers. “Delivering policing where and when today’s Londoners need it.”
Additional police resources are required in Holborn/Covent Garden and Bloomsbury to satisfy the demand for crime prevention services. The increase in magnitude of crime can be accounted for by the presence in these wards of the country’s top visitor attraction (the British Museum), London's major universities (University of London and UCL), major teaching hospitals (UCH and GOSH), many hotels, shopping, theatres and businesses all of which increase the day time population 10 fold compared to the resident population. The major shopping destinations of Oxford Street and Covent Garden are also close by. This compares with residential wards which have a reduced day time population
We are in no way suggesting taking officers away from other wards but asking for what the mayor is offering: “more Dedicated Ward Officers for the most vulnerable wards”.
Ward boundaries go down the middle of the street and are very odd shapes. The boundaries are driven by getting the same population in the ward to balance the voting requirement. Crime does not respect these boundaries. Our suggestion is to combine the three wards south of the Euston Road into one police impact zone. On this basis, at least there is only one Camden coordinated high crime zone, and you would not then get to a situation as in Bloomsbury where there was only 1 PC and 1 PCSO. It would then be easier to take a future step to integrate or coordinate Camden with the Westminster crime areas.
The understanding of SNT (Safer Neighbourhood Team) is that there are permanent dedicated officers that get to know their areas and the population in that area. With the number of police at Holborn Station it should be possible to be organised in this way, with each officer having charge over defined areas.
The March 2019 crime figures give 41% of the total crime being in these three wards and with 64 PC/PCSOs in the Camden on average this means 25 officers should be in this area while at the moment there are only 15. We would therefore press for an additional 10 officers to deal not only with the current crime but with the increases in crime that are taking place at three times the national rate of increase.
To help tackle the crime with the extra police resource it is proposed to seek new electric cycles to combat cycle assisted robbery, CCTV in the crime hot spots, removal of crime-based phone boxes. There may be other initiatives' that could jointly suggested and developed with the police and the community.
We would like to appeal to our Councillors, the Mayor and Home Office to call for more resources to help the Police in the Camden Wards South of the Euston Road.