Concerns over Kingston police and community group
The organisation responsible for ensuring Kingston police are held to account in the community said it faces an uncertain future under Boris Johnson’s watch.
Kingston Community and Police Partnership (KCPP) was concerned the London Mayor’s plan for new safer neighbourhood boards could make them obsolete and potentially jeopardise the effectiveness of holding police to account.
The Mayor of London’s office said police accountability would always remain a priority.
John Azah, KPCC’s chairman, said: “We are not closing yet but I think it is [going to be] very difficult.”
KCPP has been in existence for about 30 years and has helped facilitate situations where residents can meet police and question them at public meetings about issues of concern in their neighbourhoods.
The partnership said it had suffered funding cuts, like many other publically-funded organisations, in the past few years but since Mr Johnson took over responsibility for the capital’s policing in June it now has fresh worries.
Mr Azah said: “Communities are in danger of being marginalised because, if Boris gets his eight-member panel, which parts of the community are you going to select? It is going to be very difficult.
“I think if we continue the trend it [KCPP] will cease to be effective or will have to shut up shop.
“There is a tipping point where it becomes vulnerable. We’re not looking for complete funding but fund us at a level where we are able to run an office and talk to communities adequately and challenge the police service.”
The Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (Mopac) said Boris’s plan for eight-seat neighbourhood panels was designed to improve police and community communications and a focus would be placed on keeping abreast of current issues and reducing crime.
A Mopac spokeswoman said: “The new boards will ensure appropriate policing priorities for each borough are established and maintained.
“One of the key benefits will be members will be involved for a maximum of three years, and places will be reserved for councillors and young people on each one.
“These measures will mean both a regular refreshing of opinions, strong linkage with the boroughs and a wide diversity of views."