A freedom of information (FOI) request to the Home Office has exposed the failure of Lynne Featherstone, the Liberal Democrat MP for Hornsey and Wood Green, to raise the issue of a council tax reduction or any other incentives for special police constables during her time as a Home Office Minister.
In response to the FOI request, the Home Office official leading on Special Constabulary matters explained that she had conducted an extensive electronic search of archived files and spoken to colleagues who had worked at the Home Office when Lynne Featherstone was a Minister and there was no evidence that Ms Featherstone had made any attempts to raise the issue of a tax reductions or any other incentives for special constables.
This revelation comes at a time when Ms Featherstone and the local Liberal Democrats have criticized Haringey Council for not reducing the council tax of special constables in the borough by 50%.
Faced with a £105m budget cut thanks to the Tory / Lib Dem Government, Labour-led Haringey Council has decided to freeze council tax until 2018 for all residents rather than offering selective reductions. However, this decision does not diminish the ongoing commitment that the Haringey Labour Council has to support the borough’s police.
Despite a 20% reduction in resources as a result of the Mayor of London’s new Local Policing Model, Haringey Council is investing £200,000 to fund a Safer Neighbourhood Team, with one sergeant and five police constables, which will work right across the borough, tackling the hot spot areas where extra resources are needed.
Cllr Richard Watson, Cabinet Member for Communities said:
“The impact of the Tory/Lib Dem Government cuts to the Met Police budget by more than £500m has resulted in the closure of Muswell Hill police station, reduced opening hours at Hornsey and Wood Green police stations, and police numbers falling - in Haringey there are 116 fewer officers and 74 fewer PCSOs since May 2010.
“The police station on Tottenham High Road is now the only one open 24 hours a day in the borough if local residents want to report crime in person. This is not acceptable.
“Lib Dem MP Lynne Featherstone did nothing to stop these damaging cuts when she was a Home Office Minister and instead of fighting against station closures or to get more police on our streets, she is again ignoring the problem by focusing on a tax reduction for special constables.
“Token gestures like that being ‘championed’ by Lynne Featherstone will have minimal impact on local policing in Haringey and do nothing to support communities facing a real cost of living crisis.
“On the other hand, Haringey Labour Council is tackling these problems head on by funding 6 more police officers to patrol our streets and by pledging to freeze council tax for all residents until 2018.“