There was a third question at last week’s Full Council meeting and it came
from retired policeman Councillor Alan Downing (Conservative, St. Mary’s & St. James). He asked Alex Sawyer the Cabinet
Member for Communities if he was concerned about what London Mayor Sadiq Khan
had imposed on Bexley. viz. the amalgamation of Bexley’s police force with that
of Greenwich and Lewisham which have nothing in common with our borough. The arrangement
is known as the Borough Command Unit, BCU.
Councillor Downing has the knack of asking things that the average man in the street might want to know and has little interest in the sort of creepy question beloved of the inadequates who asked questions before him.
Similarly Councillor Sawyer is always prepared to call a spade a bloody shovel when necessary.
In summary Alex Sawyer said that the BCU was indeed a bloody shovel and was proving to be a disaster for Bexley. Who would have thought it?
In the few short months since Mayor Khan’s system was put into practice Bexley has lost its place as being the safest London borough and is now only fifth safest, dropping to seventh along the way. Another rip-roaring success story for the Mayor.
“There have been significant crime increases across the borough and it is simply not acceptable.”
Emergency call responses have decreased markedly and more and more crimes go unsolved. “The Mayor’s BCU isn’t working for Bexley.”
“The Mayor is obsessed with Inner London and doesn’t have a great empathy with us. The A2 makes it easy [for criminals] to get in and out.” Easier than in Greenwich and Lewisham where access is largely via side roads.
“Communications are far far from ideal. There have been many instances where the police hear about things only through Social Media and that is unacceptable. The Mayor really does need to up his game, there is a world outside Inner London”.
Labour Councillor Mabel Ogundayo (Thamesmead East) made a reference to budget cuts and what the BCU Commander had said at a previous meeting. She asked Alex Sawyer what the Home Secretary was doing about it.
Alex didn’t think the blame lay there but on a Mayor who had paid out £51·4 million in Golden Goodbyes, the staffing bill had gone up by £21 million, his own staff numbers had increased by 60%, £700,000 on parties, £13 million a year promoting himself, TfL spends £35 million on taxi fares and £10 million goes to Trade Unions.
“The Mayor of London wastes taxpayers’ money.’