(P.68) Jacqui Lait's Westminster Report - Autumn 1999

Lait attacks falling police numbers

THE number of police in Bromley division is falling. It is falling across the Metropolitan Police and across the nation. That was the theme of a debate in the House of Commons on July 7th initiated by Jacqui Lait, Member of Parliament for Beckenham.

Mrs Lait asked the Government to recognise that her constituents in Beckenham want to see more police officers on the beat. They perceive a link between police numbers, funding and reduced crime levels.

She called the debate because of her concern that reducing numbers of police would mean a loss of confidence in them by the public.

Police budgets everywhere are under great strain because of the pay-as-you-go pension scheme. In the Met it costs 17% of their income. Jacqui Lait urged the Government to reform the scheme to ease the financial pressures.

Thin Blue line

Mrs Lait said, "The Home Office must ensure that the public are reassured that the thin blue line will hold. At present the public believes that the line is under significant pressure. I very much hope that the Minister can reassure us that there will be a greater police presence on the streets, so reassuring our constituents."

Cleaner and greener?

In response to an ever increasing number of constituents' complaints, Jacqui Lait attacked the declining state of local streets and parks during a recent commons debate.

"In my time as MP for Beckenham I have noticed a marked decline in the care that the Council seems to take over the state of public areas.

"As I said in the House of Commons, grass is not being cut, graffiti is not being cleaned up and the problem of litter seems to get worse by the day. In the past Bromley has enjoyed a proud reputation as a 'clean and green' borough. I am determined that those responsible for the Council's approach realise just how important it is that we all live in a clean and pleasant environment.

"This is not about party politics, it is about ensuring that my constituents' voices are heard and that is why I decided to take the unusual step of raising the issue in Parliament," says Mrs Lait.

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