Speaking at this week’s Council Meeting, Church Street Councillors Aisha Less and Matt Noble made a plea for strong action to tackle anti-social behaviour.
Councillor Aisha Less said:
“Anti-social behaviour is often downplayed as a petty, ‘low-level’ crime. But put yourself in their shoes – to suffer from ASB is an ordeal that causes misery, disturbs sleep, anxiety, work, and relationships – leaving victims feeling unsafe and afraid in their own homes. It can feel like you are living a nightmare.
The coronavirus pandemic has been linked to a big return of ASB across Westminster, with hundreds more incidents passed unrecorded while concerns have been raised about the rising trend by some councillors and officers at the Council
Incidents include excessive noise, damage to properties, graffiti, threats of violence, rubbish dumping, dog fouling and unruly behaviour due to alcohol and drug use. Also, youths gathering, low-level vandalism, general neighbourhood disruption and neighbours from hell.”
Councillor Matt Noble told the Council:
“In 2015 the Conservatives cut £750,000 from children’s services, including youth centres. In 2016 they cut another £550,000. By 2019 they’d cut 91% of funding for youth services. More than every other council in the country bar one.
And there followed a warning from the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Knife Crime about the consequences. The council is reviewing ASB, but it is not reviewing these cuts. There is no reversal planned.
Drug involvement remains one of the core drivers of a high percentage of residential based ASB cases in Westminster. In 2016, the Council announced a cut of £1.4m from Substance Misuse programmes, leading to the closure of North Westminster Drug and Alcohol Service in Harrow Road.
This served the whole of the north of the borough. 38% of ASB complaints in Westminster Housing come from Westbourne, Queens Park and Church Street wards.
When it comes to funding for the Council’s major partner in responding to ASB and keeping our City Safe, the Met Police, it was the Conservative-led coalition and then Conservative governments who forced the Met to cut £850m from their budget since 2010. It was Sadiq Khan who re-injected £234m into their budget to try to mitigate this as much as possible. By last March he had invested £1.08 billion in the Met Police – more than any other Mayor of London.
The fact is that Westminster’s residents are not best served by having a Conservative administration, here or in Parliament, continue on for any longer. On this and numerous other policy areas they have been let down and will continue to be let down until there is change. We all deserve better. “