8 May 2009
As Labour Group Spokesperson for Community Safety I thought I might comment on your recent article on crime figures for Southwark.
Clearly continuing lower figures for reported "acquisitve crime", ie burglaries and car crime, are to be welcomed.
Kit Malthouse's implication that it has all magically happened under Boris's watch is a rather pathetic attempt to make a party political point and of course is competely misleading.
The Government, Mayor's Office and Council take credit over a number of years for taking a number of steps from better property security and estate and street lighting, use of ASBOs and ABCs and the introduction of Safer Neighbourhood Police Teams and Council Community Wardens!
The worrying increase is serious violent and sexual crime, although small in absolute numbers, is a cause for concern and we have argued for some time that the Council has failed to take a strategic view to tackling it!
I supported the recent Violent Crime Summit hosted by Southwark and will support any positive initiatives arising from it but feel that the problem needs a more focussed and energetic response from the Council than is evident at present.
An example of this is the Emergency Points dotted around the borough left unconnected and rusting for more that a year and the battered and bleached CCTV signs apparently highlighting our high quality CCTV System. These visible failures do not inspire confidence and need to be fixed very soon!
I welcome the new Borough Commander and support his commitment to increased use of stop and search as it is a powerful weapon in tacking drug dealing and the carrying of weapons.
We will work with any political party at any level who have a serious commitment to make Southwark a safer place to live and work but will speak out against prevarication, gesture politics and deception from wherever it comes to
deliver a safer Southwark for all of us as it is of course in all of our interest!
Councillor John Friary, Labour Group Spokesperson for Community Safety
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