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/ Siobhain challenges police chief over cuts in Mitcham
Following a spate of incidents in Mitcham, Siobhain McDonagh has called a meeting for local residents to tackle the Metropolitan police about cuts in policing.
The meeting takes place at St Mark's Church, on St Mark's Road in Mitcham, and will run from 10.30am to 12.30pm on Saturday 2 August. All Mitcham residents are welcome to attend.
Siobhain has invited Sir Bernard Hogan Howe, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, as well as the heads of bookmaking firms Betfred, Ladbrokes and Paddy Power, as much of the anti-social behaviour in Mitcham Town Centre is focused around their businesses.
Siobhain personally invited Sir Bernard Hogan Howe during a visit by him to the House of Commons earlier this week. A copy of the letter of invitation is here
Following cuts to funding, neighbourhood policing in Merton has switched from a system where 6 dedicated officers worked in each of Merton's 20 wards, to one where teams work in just 3 centralised sectors.
Siobhain claims this has led to a reduction in policing for Mitcham. This is because:
- Resources are split evenly, even though 52% of crime takes place in Mitcham, with only 26% in Wimbledon and 22% in Morden.
- Officers on the neighbourhood teams have also taken on responsibilities that were previously carried out by other police officers, including Vehicle Checks, Drug Stops, Licensed premises visits, Pawn Broker visits, Search Warrants, Answering 101 calls, Helping at key events outside of Merton, Crime Scene attendance, and Suicide assistance for Sutton.
- All local police offices have closed. Officers therefore spend less time in the ward, and more time travelling. Mitcham police station is also no longer open 24 hours.
A number of high profile crimes have added to the public’s sense of Mitcham becoming less safe.
- Attempted murder in Mitcham town centre (section of town centre closed off for 24 hours during busy weekend period)
- Stabbing of 16 year old in broad daylight
- Rape of a young woman on pathway from Mitcham to Colliers Wood