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One of the most important issues raised with us on the doorstep and at resident meetings throughout Lambeth is that of community safety. Local people want – and deserve – to feel safe as they go about their lives, whether it’s in their home, in our public places or at their place of work or worship. That is why there is growing anger at Conservative plans to cut London’s police budget by £1 billion by the end of this decade – a move that threatens to remove thousands of officers from our streets and shut police stations throughout South London.

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One of those stations under threat is in our ward in St Leonards. Streatham station on the High Road underwent a major refurbishment only a few years ago and is an important part of frontline, visible policing in the community. In a busy area with businesses, restaurants, bars, public spaces and thousands of homes it is crucial that we have enough police officers for crimes to be reported directly to or issues discussed face to face, and at a location that is easy to reach for local people.

But, as the leader of Lambeth Labour Cllr Lib Peck has already told the government, they cannot keep on plundering the Met’s budget without there being a direct impact on services at the frontline.  £600 million has already been taken from London’s police force since the Tories and their Lib Dem friends formed the coalition in 2010 and despite finding £1 billion to bribe the DUP to support their damaged government, the Tories have outlined plans for another £400 million cut in the next few years. Thousands of officers could be lost according to London’s Mayor and now as many as eight stations are under threat in Lambeth.

Local Labour councillors are fighting against these cuts. We have organised a petition signed by more than 600 residents already opposing these plans and will continue to knock on doors throughout the borough to spread the word about this threat to our community safety. It is disappointing that local Conservatives have failed to stand up for strong law and order and lobby their own party to make a change to their policy. But we won’t take that course of action. If you believe we cannot protect the public on the cheap, please sign our petition here and send a clear message to the government that now is the time for them to reverse their damaging policies.

 

Cllr Saleha Jaffer, Stephen Donnelly and Cllr Robert Hill

St Leonard's Labour Action Team

Save Streatham Police Station

One of the most important issues raised with us on the doorstep and at resident meetings throughout Lambeth is that of community safety. Local people want – and deserve –...

Earlier in the summer a very long campaign finally – and successfully – came to close when the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan gave formal approval for the extension of the Santander bike scheme into Stockwell and Brixton. This was a big victory for local Labour councillors and residents who for years have had their petitions and campaigns largely ignored by Tory Mayor Boris Johnson, who with his typical lack of action did very little to extend the bikes beyond central London.DEH30WRXsAEpmIj.jpg

But with seven new docking stations now guaranteed as part of this roll out, Lambeth and the Mayor are asking for residents to chip in their thoughts about where the stations should be located: so if you live or work in this part of Lambeth this is your chance to make a pitch for the best location for the new Santander bikes.

The extension of this popular scheme won’t just be a bonus for already committed cyclists. Since their introduction, the bikes have helped encourage more people to take up cycling which has helped to boost fitness and provide a cheap and green form of alternative transport. This latter point is particularly important to this part of South London which does suffer from high levels of air pollution, with Brixton Road which runs through my ward having some of the poorest air quality in Britain. At the moment, the government’s Clean Air strategy is mired in the courts in the kind of farce that would have made the Carry On team proud: on more than one occasion it’s been thrown out as legally unsound. As a result, the Mayor and councils like Lambeth are taking the lead in trying to reduce pollution, with car idling campaigns, a new clean air strategy and the introduction of cleaner engines on Tfl buses. Introducing more bike hire stations as well as extending cycle lanes into South London is another way of encouraging people, where they can, to swap four wheels for two and reducing air pollution.

So with these benefits in mind, where do you think these new docking stations should go? If you have an idea or a location then email the council here – this is your chance to bring the Santander bikes to your preferred patch in your neighbourhood.

 

Cllr Paul Gadsby

Labour councillor for Vassall

Where should the new Santander bike stations go in Brixton and Stockwell?

Earlier in the summer a very long campaign finally – and successfully – came to close when the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan gave formal approval for the extension of...

When I heard about yet more cuts to our police force from this chaotic and failing Tory government, I was appalled, though sadly not particularly surprised. The Liberal Democrats with their Coalition partners (or should that be bosses?) started this campaign of rolling cutbacks when they were in power between 2010-2015. This of course sat alongside a policy of deep austerity to other public services, including to Lambeth council - which has seen a whopping 56% removed from its budget since the start of the decade.  Thanks to this approach, seemingly backed by Lambeth’s toothless Liberal Democrats and Tories, the Met has already endured £600 million in cuts. And now the Tory government has announced a further £400 million of planned reductions which incredibly means that over ten years one billion pounds will be removed from the policing budget in London.

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When Theresa May can find the same amount down the back of the sofa to give to their new partners the DUP, we can see this is a political choice; this is about the Tory party and their survival, not about the safety of our capital city. Why not invest in keeping our exciting, metropolitan city secure and well policed, rather than risk making it less safe by using the money in a political deal?

 

London has already lost 1000 police officers. Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, has warned that these new cuts could mean we see a further 12,800 officers removed from our streets. In Lambeth, as well police officers, we are set to lose eight police stations, including Kennington which is my neighbourhood station in the north of the borough. Removing this station from public use will make it harder for residents to have a face to face officer to interact with, whether it’s to report a crime, make a complaint or get advice. Moreover, it surely doesn’t fill any of us with confidence that the government has a grip on tackling the big issues in our city more widely. Like helping us to tackle the growing threat of terrorism or protecting minority groups, such as the LGBT community or our diverse communities from different ethnic backgrounds, who have seen a rise in hate crime towards them in the past few years.

 

As the Safer Neighbourhood Panel chair for my ward of Oval, I have seen first hand how hard the police work. I'm proud that we have one of the few forces who do not carry guns and that has in recent years showed a willingness to learn from past mistakes and work hard on the ground to improve their relations with all sections of our community.

 

Like all organsiations, there is room for improvement, but we should maintain, or better still grow, our neighbourhood policing, not cutting it back to the bone. I am in no doubt: these closures will make it more difficult to carry out community-focussed neighbourhood policing that is vital to keep our streets safe.

 

Lambeth Labour councilors, local MPs and community activists are campaigning to save our stations. Lambeth leader Cllr Lib Peck has co-ordinated an open letter from council leaders of 20 Labour-run boroughs, to the government, calling on them to scrap this devastating approach and to work with the Mayor of London to keep stations open.  

 

I would urge every resident to sign our petition here and respond to the Mayor’s consultation paper here.

 

We must campaign to keep London safe – and Londoners deserve better that this Tory attempt at policing on the cheap.

 

Philip Normal

Labour candidate Oval Ward

We cannot protect the public on the cheap

When I heard about yet more cuts to our police force from this chaotic and failing Tory government, I was appalled, though sadly not particularly surprised. The Liberal Democrats with...

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