London’s deputy mayor Sophie Linden challenged over late-night policing gaps
Sadiq Khan's No. 2 is told that City Hall should cough up to make streets safe - and not leave costs with Town Hall
27 February, 2017 — By William McLennan
Sophie Linden with Sadiq Khan
THE Mayor of London’s new plan for policing the capital has been criticised for failing to address issues linked to Camden’s bustling nightlife.
Sadiq Khan’s deputy mayor, Sophie Linden, presented the plans to a mixed reception at a public meeting at Swiss Cottage library on Monday evening.
Camden Council’s community safety chief Councillor Jonathan Simpson said aspects of the plan were “extremely welcome”, but felt it failed to draw attention to the role of police in areas with many bars and clubs. He told Ms Linden: “It’s a great start in terms of a policing plan for London. The next thing though is to have a proper strategy on dealing with the night-time economy.”
While the night-time economy was “very welcome,” he added: “For many residents who live at the hard coalface of dealing with noise and disruption, they have a different side of it. It’s that balance we need to make which perhaps needs to be teased out in a separate strategy.”
Cllr Simpson’s comments come as the Town Hall considers plans to axe a team of 12 extra police officers who patrol Camden Town on weekend evenings. The council pays £400,000 towards the taskforce, but funding is due to run out later this year.
Aileen Hammond, secretary of the Haverstock Safer Neighbourhoods Panel, told the deputy mayor that people were “crying out” for police patrols to deter anti-social behaviour late at night. She said: “This really should be mayoral, rather than falling on Camden’s budget, because it is something that is used by Londoners as a whole. They need to be regarded as a specialist issue.”
Responding to the concerns, Ms Linden, who lost out to Tulip Siddiq in the contest to become Labour parliamentary candidate in Hampstead and Kilburn, said: “I’m very well aware that the night-time economy brings fantastic benefits. It can also, on the flip side, cause lots of problems for people who live right next door to it.”
Ms Linden said she would “look at what we can do to make sure licensed premises themselves take responsibility for what’s happening and how we can work with the police to make sure there is a safer night-time economy”.
Addressing Ms Hammond’s request, she said that it was for borough commanders to decide where officers patrol, adding: “I don’t think you can enforce your way into a safer night-time economy. Some of it is about transport routes, making sure there’s really good transport home. It’s also about trying to ensure venues are taking responsibility. Many are and it is getting a lot better.”