MP raises crime concerns in Commons - and rejects 'private police force'

  Posted: 10.10.20 at 06:00 by Sarah Olney MP

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This week our MP Sarah Olney secured an adjournment debate in the House of Commons on policing in South West London.

She spoke about the effects of anti-social behaviour on communities but said bringing in private police patrols to a specific part of Richmond was not the answer.

As we reported, security firm MyLocalBobby has been canvassing residents over the possibility of bringing in security patrols to the town.

Richmond Park MP Sarah said: “These are anxious times everywhere, so it is not surprising that people are more concerned for their safety than usual, or that police should have had more demands on their time than before the pandemic.

“However, the feeling that the community is not being well served by the police has reached the point in parts of my constituency that some residents are canvassing support for a privately funded police force to patrol specific areas.

“I should like to take this opportunity to state publicly and clearly that I am completely opposed to any such initiative.

Some Green residents are keen to bring in extra security

Full story: Update on plans to bring private police force to Richmond

“Everybody has the right to safety and justice, regardless of their background or income, it should not be reserved specifically for those who can pay for it."

Addressing the minister for crime and policing, Kit Malthouse, she said: "If people do not live in fear of going out into their communities, they are more likely to engage with people of different backgrounds, to provide support to their neighbours, to shop in local shops, and to contribute to a safer, friendlier neighbourhood that is the best possible deterrent to crime and antisocial behaviour.

"Will the government make a commitment to neighbourhood policing as the best way of building strong communities that prevent crime and support all their residents?

"Will they review policing demand profiles in response to the pandemic, and - above all - will they ensure that policing authorities across the country, and especially in London and the four boroughs of the South West, have the resources they need to police effectively everywhere?"

Met Police commissioner Cressida Dick discusses policing amid the pandemic with Sarah Olney, top right, and Twickenham MP Munira Wilson

Mr Malthouse thanked Sarah for speaking about the situation in Richmond.

He replied: "Although it is a very safe part of London and, indeed, a very safe part of the country, that does not mean that we should not pay attention to the concerns of her residents.

"She should be assured that wherever and however a crime occurs in this country, it is a personal offence to me that it has, and I will be stretching every sinew in the time that I am allowed in this job to do something about it."

You can read a transcript of Sarah's Commons speech and the full debate here.

MP Sarah Olney has written to Mayor of London Sadiq Khan with her objections to the revised planning application for the former Stag Brewery.  ...

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