Thomas Bridge 21 January 2015

Higher police numbers 'crucial', warns London borough

A London borough has warned there are 'not enough' local police to deal with the region's serious youth violence problem.

Enfield fears the local 'problem' of low police numbers is now likely to be 'exaggerated' while Britain takes precautions following terrorist attacks in Paris and anti-terror arrests in Belgium.

Westminster, Haringey and Lambeth have been selected to take part in Operation Shield to tackle gang violence and will be given priority from central police reserves.

However Enfield argues its 21% rise in serious youth violence is larger than those seen in Hackney and Westminster, while Lambeth saw a fall.

Enfield Council's cabinet member for environment and community safety, Cllr Chris Bond, said: 'Our police are hard-working and dedicated professionals who do a good job in difficult circumstances, but the fundamental problem is that there are not enough of them to go round and this problem is likely to be exaggerated now that additional demands are going to be placed on them.

'Tackling serious youth violence is a labour intensive, long term project, Enfield Council puts its money where its mouth is every year and funds the Metropolitan Police to the tune of half a million pounds a year and its investment in state of the art CCTV systems to track down and prosecute offenders but residents have a reasonable expectation that the borough will receive enough resources to tackle the crimes that concern them the most, and our omission from Operation Shield and the increases in serious youth violence this year is a concern to us.

'Historically we are good at tackling gangs and serious youth violence, but it is crucial that Enfield is allocated more police officers to help nip this increase in serious youth violence in the bud before it becomes entrenched and it becomes far more difficult to address the problem,' Cllr Bond added.

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