As the Met tries to combat serious escalating youth violence in Camberwell, the local Camberwell Green ward police is down to just two officers responsible for day-to-day policing of the area and a police community support officer– although a third constable is due to join in September.
Police adviser Stephen Bourne described Southwark’s safer neighbourhood teams as ‘cut to the bone’, and another independent adviser to the Met, Avril Jones, said the Met was ‘run ragged’ trying to respond to the scale of knife crime in the borough.
Earlier this year Southwark News revealed that a freedom of information request from the Lib Dems showed that last year Southwark lost, on average, one police officer a week from meaning sixty fewer officers are on the beat in our borough compared to this time last year.
“We need more preventative work done and more resources to do it,” Ms Jones told the News. “Prevention work is the key. I will say that I am a firm supporter of police work, but they are being run ragged.”
Despite uniformed officers standing outside the tower block, one resident had no qualms about lobbing what appeared to a glass bottle onto the ground floor roof in the middle of our interview.
Superintendent Annemarie Cowley, from Southwark Police, confirmed extra support was helping the Camberwell team, but made the frank admission that “we cannot enforce our way out of this.
“We as a police force absolutely have a role to play – as do parents, communities, schools and other support services.”