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Call Time on Crime

November 8, 2009

Police

Figures released by Labour-run Lewisham Council show knife crime is up 25% in the last year. Gun crime is up too, and according to statistics on the Metropolitan Police’s website, there were 770 violent crimes in Lewisham in September alone.

It’s really important we don’t give in to the fear of crime, but I think there is a real problem here that we need to deal with. I’m particularly concerned about the impact of this violence on young people. I’m shocked at the number of my former students who have become victims
themselves. When I ask them if the media is exaggerating the problem, they tell me that the reality is even worse than the newspapers report.

That’s why the Liberal Democrats are calling for 10,000 more police across the country, which would be paid for by scrapping Labour’s pointless and wasteful ID card scheme. But it’s not just more police that we need, but better police-community relations, and I think we’ve got some way to go on that score in Lewisham.

Here in Lewisham I’m involved in the ENOUGH campaign to ‘make youth violence history’. I’m also sending out a crime survey to thousands of home to find out what local people really think, and last week I met with the new Borough Commander, Jeremy Burton, to find out his views on the situation in Lewisham.

I’m confident we can make Lewisham a safer place, but I’m just not sure Labour recognise the extent of the problem. When I recently attended a special meeting of the Lewisham Community Police Consultative Group to discuss violent crime, attended by over 100 concerned local people, there was no sign of the Labour parliamentary candidate, the Labour Mayor or the Labour Cabinet Member for Community Safety.

However, the message from the meeting was clear. If we all work together – police, politicians and the public – we can cut violent crime in our communities.

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