For many months now, the spike in violent crimes across Enfield has been shocking.
An elderly man was murdered in his own home during an aggravated burglary, and subsequent aggravated burglaries and attempted burglaries have been reported in Southgate Green and Winchmore Hill. I have heard first hand from the victims of the sheer terror and fear they felt when their homes and their personal safety were violated.
More recently, youth-on-youth violence has increased in and around Southgate Station where young kids from Ashmole Academy have been mugged by older youths. Burglaries have also been on the up in Southgate Ward.
At numerous packed public meetings, residents have raised deep concerns about their families’ safety. Constituents have approached me separately to let me know about incidents where their safety was at risk while out in Enfield.
Although there are actions we can take to make our homes a bit safer and to be more safety conscious while we are out, we should not be forced to live in fear. I know our police service is doing the best they can, but the huge cuts to their funding by Central Government is making it close to impossible to deliver the public service that we need. The recent Home Affairs Select Committee Report, ‘Policing for the Future’ concluded that without additional funding for policing, there will be dire consequences for public safety, criminal justice and public confidence. We recognise this effect in Enfield right now.
In Enfield we have lost 400 officers and we now have only between 20 and 30 officers on duty at any time. When the small number of officers are needed to focus on one serious incident in the borough, it leaves the rest of the borough without a police presence. This isn’t just my conclusion, this is what our police officers told residents at our public meeting in Bowes. I remember back in 2006 when the safer neighbourhood teams were rolled out across the borough with six dedicated officers (one sergeant, two police officers and three PCSOs) for each ward – this number has dwindled to just three officers per 10,000 people. When you consider that officers have to work shifts, it’s a sobering thought that this thin blue line is all that is keeping us safe.
I’ve heard some residents suggest that they want to pay for their own security on their road, but this really isn’t the society I want to live in. I am absolutely opposed to the ideology of draining our public services, forcing people to pay privately. Our society should be collectively responsible for everyone’s safety, health, education and prosperity. We do this through fair taxation, redistribution of wealth and decent public services based on need.
The first duty of any government is to keep its citizens safe – my fear is that we have reached the tipping point. Time and time again I have questioned the Government in Parliament about police funding and I will continue to do so until public safety is put first.
Bambos Charalambous MP
To contact me phone 020 882 0088 or e-mail me on [email protected]
My constituency office is at 472 Green Lanes, Palmers Green, London, N13 5PA.