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Crime will increase in Havering due to police cuts, says Former London Mayor Ken Livingstone

PUBLISHED: 09:55 03 August 2011 | UPDATED: 08:49 04 August 2011

Ken Livingstone on walkabout in Romford

Ken Livingstone on walkabout in Romford

Archant

Havering will see an increase in crime when cuts are made to the police force, according to former Mayor Ken Livingstone.

His comments came after a visit to the borough on Tuesday August 2 as part of his election campaign to run for London Mayor next year.

He said: “Criminals are going to notice the increase in crime and the residents are going to notice it and Havering has already seen an increase in street crime and things are just going to increase with these cuts.”

The changes to the police which are due to come into effect in September will also see the number of sergeants in the borough’s SNT cut from 18 to 14.

Mr Livingstone, who was also joined on his visit by Mandy Richards, the Labour candidate for Havering and Redbridge GLA seat, also argues that this will have a knock on effect on crime as the Sergeants have the most knowledge about whats happening in the area.

He said: “If you say to people what officers that are most useful, people will always say that it is the ones that you can see on the road and they are the Safer Neighbourhood Sergeants,

“They are the ones that have the most experience of what is happening on the road and they provide the police officers with the background information, so they are not the people that you would choose to get rid of.”

The visit saw Mr Livingstone speaking to residents about their concerns outside of Romford Station and Romford High Street.

He also added his weight against plans to close King George Hospital’s accident and emergency and maternity units and to relocate services to Queen’s Hospital, Romford.

He said: “I think the plans are ridiculous, I don’t see the point of building a new hospital and then making cuts.

“The core of any hospital is the A&E department and the maternity units and if they get rid of those it won’t be long before they close down the hospital.”

Ken came under criticism last month from Romford members of the Labour Party after he cancelled his visit to the borough just a few hours before he was due to arrive, but Mr Livingstone defended his decision.

He said: “Most people who have kids will understand that some times you can not make plans.”

But Kit Malthouse, Deputy Mayor for Policing denied Mr Livingstone’s claims about a rise in crime in the borough.

He said: “Crime is not rising in Havering, the actual truth is that it’s fallen by 10 per cent over the last three years. Our number one priority has been to put more cops on the streets, so whilst it’s easy to scare monger, the fact is that the borough has benefited from 12 more police officers, 21 PCSOs and 77 additional special constables. There is nothing more important to us than tackling crime and it is unhelpful and inaccurate to suggest otherwise. “


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