Southwark Liberal Democrats have surveyed locals about crime, following the surge across the borough and the capital in the last few years. Robberies in Southwark were up a quarter last year, while knife crime, gun crime and violent crime went up by almost half – roughly double the rise across London as a whole. The capital is now more dangerous than New York for rape, robbery and violent crime.
This dramatic increase had been felt by the survey’s responders, with most saying that they felt more nervous about crime this year compared to the previous year, and with over a quarter declaring that they had been victims of crime in the last year.
Southwark Liberal Democrats have been engaging with local groups, residents and the Borough Commander, to formulate their crime-fighting policies in the run-up to the local Council elections on May 3rd. 85% of survey responders agreed with the Liberal Democrats that more police officers would help, and nine out of ten believed that the council should invest more in youth services.
Liberal Democrats will directly invest in more police officers and set up a Specialist Crimes Unit to specifically target moped crime and knife crime.
Cllr Anood Al-Samerai, leader of the Liberal Democrat Opposition on Southwark Council said ‘Following recent cuts, the police has gradually become a much more re-active rather than pro-active force. To reverse this, we will establish a specialist unit, made up of intelligence, surveillance, and undercover officers. It will operate under the Borough Commander and will have the resources necessary to undertake long-term investigations to tackle knife and moped crime head-on and prioritise taking down the gang ring-leaders.’
Responding to the calls to invest in youth services, Cllr Al-Samerai said ‘Labour-run Southwark Council wanted to cut spending on youth services by three-quarters. Under strong pressure from us, they reduced that cut to ‘only’ half, but it was still far too much. It led to youth clubs like the one in the Blue being closed down.
‘We will fully reverse these short-termist cuts. Youth clubs give young people things to do, places to go, mentors to look up to who will, in turn, look out for them. This is important in itself, but with gangs now getting better and better at recruiting vulnerable youths, all of us will benefit from better youth services and in the long-term, increasing investment in youth clubs will pay for itself.’
‘Voters on May 3rd will face a clear choice in Southwark, between Liberal Democrats who will invest in more police officers and youth services and a Labour-run council that will continue to do neither.’