Saturday, 27 February 2010

Hackney has too many cops say Croydon and Waltham Forest

Some boroughs are citing Hackney as the most generously policed borough as they lobby Boris Johnson for more officers. A campaign is underway in Waltham Forest (this link is a bit odd), this piece from Yellow Advertiser ends: "For example Hackney has virtually the same amount of serious crime, but 195 police officers more than Waltham Forest."

A similar campaign has been running for longer in Croydon: "The Cops for Croydon campaign has cross party support from Croydon’s councillors and now residents, local businesses and commuters are being urged to add their weight to the scheme.

The piece in the Croydon Guardian specifically mentions Hackney as a place that has more than its fair share of police officers: "Councillor Gavin Barwell, cabinet member for safety and cohesion, said: “There is clear evidence that, relative to other boroughs, the number of full-time police officers in Croydon does not adequately reflect the number of offences. Newham, Hackney and Tower Hamlets have all been allocated more full-time police officers than Croydon, yet because they are much smaller than Croydon, they have to deal with fewer offences.”

Trident figures - insult to injury?

In January Blood and Property made a request under the freedom of information act to find out how much Hackney relies on Operation Trident to fight its crime. Answers to those questions arrived last week and will post them in full on Monday.

The met police provided borough by borough figures for 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009. Over this period Hackney was the London borough with the second highest number of cases being investigated by Operation Trident officers - 110 over the four year period.

This compared to 92 in Waltham Forest (the fifth most prolific area for Trident investigations) and 40 in Croydon (12th highest number of Trident investigations).

In 2008 alone Operation Trident had a £28m budget. It currently employs 359 police officers. As Hackney's 110 cases made up nearly 10% of all the Trident investigations over four years, it seems safe to assume that the borough has had access to a significant chunk of Trident 's resources.

What happens to Hackney if Trident funding is cut and should Hackney politicians and residents be preparing a campaign to maintain the current level of policing?

The met response to the FOI request (excluding 2006-9 figures) said: "Trident investigates all non-fatal shootings within London irrespective of the ethnicity of the victim or suspect.

"Trident also investigates fatal shootings occurring solely within the black community.

"Trident's Community Engagement Team works closely with communities within the Trident hotspot boroughs to tackle gun-enabled crime. The unit provides an opportunity for the police and the community to work together in preventing, detecting and combating gun related criminality."

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