Threat to parks police gets big response
13 August 2008
MORE than 500 residents concerned about council plans to cut Haringey’s parks police force have contacted the Liberal Democrats, a councillor claims.
The news comes as Labour-run Haringey Council announced consultation will begin on proposals to axe the parks constabulary and replace it with community policing which, it is claimed, will increase supervision in parks.
But Councillor Ron Aitken, the Liberal Democrat spokesman for policing and community safety, said there was widespread apprehension.
He said: “The Liberal Democrats have had over 500 responses so far from people who say they are very concerned about the parks police being disbanded.”
He added: “We need the parks police and I think the council should lift the threat of disbandment as soon as possible.”
In April this year Haringey Council agreed in principle to cut the dedicated force of 11 staff and introduce a new “Parkforce” model.
Existing Safer Neighbourhoods teams will take on the mantle for policing across five new park zones supported by a Parks Response Unit based at Finsbury Park and managed by the Metropolitan Police.
More frontline staff will also be provided resulting in an extra 17,000 man hours in Haringey parks, the council claims.
Councillor Dhiren Basu, cabinet member for leisure, culture and lifelong learning, said: “The new Parkforce scheme is quite a radical change from our previous staffing and policing system and we would welcome as much feedback as possible on our proposals.
“These plans are all about trying to reduce crime and fear of crime in our parks.”
The deadline for responses to the consultation is Friday, September 26, and a final decision will be taken on whether to cut the constabulary later in the year.
Residents can learn more about the proposals and give their views by:
m Filling out a new online survey at http://www.haringey.gov.uk/parkforce.
m Requesting a hard copy of the survey by calling Haringey’s Parks Service on 020 8489 5662 or e-mailing email@example.com
m Questionnaires will be made available at cafes in Finsbury Park, Priory Park, Albert Road Recreation Ground and Bruce Castle Museum.