Wanstead is the second highest place for burglary in the borough, and it looks set to increase.
Sources told the Wanstead Society that, with heightened security in Stratford, criminal gangs from those areas are fanning out into neighbouring areas – namely Wanstead, Leytonstone, Ilford and Barking – as it has become too dangerous for them to operate near the Olympic site.
Of course, all of this coincides with a general reduction in police numbers across England. The number of police officers in England and Wales has fallen to its lowest level for a decade with just 135,838 police officers in September 2011 – 6,012 fewer than the 141,850 there had been a year earlier. Police civilian numbers have also fallen by 11% over the same period.
Chief Constable Peter Fahy, the Association of Chief Police Officers’ lead for workforce development, told the BBC that it was “not surprising” to see a fall in the numbers of officers as most police forces had seen significant cuts.
“We will shortly enter the most difficult financial year for policing in living memory but forces have the plans to cope with what will be a most challenging time,” he said.
With crime up, police numbers falling and Wanstead Police Station still under threat, the outlook for Wanstead, Snaresbrook and Aldersbrook looks grim.
What makes this issue so topical is that there is a Mayoral election on 4th May this year. Who ever wins will have financial control over London’s police force for the next 4 years. Whilst there is a lot of focus on the Olympics – which is only right – what happens after? Police budgets are going to be even tighter than they are now, and the MET will be looking for a saving.
When the political candidates come knocking on your door – ask them this: “Do you intend to keep Wanstead Police Station open, with a staffed counter service if you win?”
Listen to what they say. It might just influence how you vote.