Labour reject Conservative proposals for increased police numbers and reduced council tax

At Wednesday's Budget meeting Labour and Liberal Democrat members voted against Conservative proposals to create a ‘Town Centre Police Team’ in the borough and to reduce Council Tax.
The proposal to create a ‘Town Centre Police Team’ based in Eltham for this financial year, to be followed by another in Greenwich in 2010 was made by Conservative Leader Cllr Spencer Drury. The purpose of the teams, each of which would be composed of one sergeant, two PCs and three PCSOs, would focus on dealing with the specific problems confronting the High Street and Greenwich Town Centre.

Cllr Drury said ”Currently the Safer Neighbourhood Teams for Eltham North and Greenwich West find themselves focused on dealing with Eltham High Street and Greenwich Town Centre rather than the problems of residents in and around their wards, which means residents get a lower level of coverage than elsewhere. This proposal would have helped reduce crime and improve the number of patrols in town centres and in Eltham North & Greenwich West. We felt that funds could be found for the police team in Eltham immediately and would aim to reduce the publicity budget to provide extra police in Greenwich West as soon as possible.”

The proposal to decrease Council Tax by 0.5% was made by Conservative Finance Spokesman Cllr Andy Jennings who said “Whilst we welcome the fact that no Council Tax increase was proposed, we feel that there is scope to begin reducing the burden of taxation on local people. The Council has shown over the last year that in difficult economic times it is prepared to spend thousands of pounds of residents’ money on business class trips to China, on doubling the frequency of its propaganda newspaper and on pointless attempts to upstage the Mayor of London at the opening of Woolwich Arsenal DLR station. A reduction in tax would be an acknowledgement to local people that we are serious about starting to cut out some of this unnecessary spending at a time when they are trying to make their own household budgets balance.”

Cllr Drury said “Both of these proposals could be financed with affecting any frontline services. Labour did not accept that more police were their responsibility although they provided them in Woolwich and on the Ferrier Estate. I think their priorities are wrong and the fact they admit we need more police, but will not fund them reflects the muddled thinking of this Council.”