Safety in Numbers, Numbers that are decreasing

We’ve always been reassured that there are many around us to protect us, they’re always there. From a young age, children have been taught: A- if you break the law you will be sent to a treacherous place that goes by the name of prison and B if you ever encounter a crime related situation where someone else is breaking the law help is never far. So we thought. As years have continued apparently the interest of becoming a police officer has become extinct!

The number of our protectors who wander the streets keeping an eye out for our safety has taken a colossal drop.

Thus, we wonder, are our streets safe? Can I still visit the capital without dangers of being affected by crime? Am I protected, are we as a society being kept safe?

The answer is no one is completely sure; even the mayor of London has stated he is “genuinely concerned about how we keep Londoners safe.” Evidently the number of police in England and Wales has dropped by more than 20,000 since 2010, concerning right? But why is this happening? Is it due to a lack of funding to the Met Police? Last year £8.6 billion was funded by the government, so maybe it is isn’t all about costs.

The Notting Hill festival saw 30 cops injured this year, maybe the decrease of cops is due to fear. What is the point of risking your life for a living in order to keep others safe when you could be earning a lot more sitting at the comfort of an office desk with a computer?

One of Bromley’s detectives, Detective Harakis has said the following to some questions of mine “Why do you think there’s been such a huge drop in police? “Because of the budget cuts there hasn’t been a lot of recruiting, this also means there isn’t a replacement for those who retire “ Has it affected your work sector? “People are leaving work for county forces and secondly there’s not enough officers to share the load, so I get more work and less time at home”

What do you think we as young citizens can do to keep ourselves safe? “Be vigilant and take own security measures.”

In my local area, many young people have come together to attend police cadets. These groups are up and down the country filled with children who volunteer, dedicating their time to helping the local community and learning key skills as a pose to playing on the Xbox or scrolling through social media. They patrol the streets filling the absence of adult police, opening themselves to questions and concerns of the public. I find their work truly inspirational.

Here are some comments from police cadets: An ex cadet Year 10 Langley Park School for Girls “We met once a week (twice if you really enjoyed it.) Inside my unit we’d work on our marches quite a lot (for our parades), a lot of stuff on policing such as: drugs, gangs, that sort of thing. Oh yes, we also learnt about different scenarios and a lot of sporting stuff ”A current cadet Year 9 “In cadets we do weekly meetings… we help in the local community during weekends we walk round the streets. I enjoy it very much I feel like a massive family and I’ve made a lot of friends.”

As a whole I believe, yes, the government could do better in encouraging more police and raising their wages to match the heroic things they do for us. However, there are still many other situations maintaining the attention of our government so as a community we have to attempt to inform people the best we can about crime. Even doing the simple things like having one another’s backs and helping people around us could be the key to a more crime-free peaceful London.

By Hannah Sterling