Volunteering to fight crime could really pay off!

Here’s my latest Ham and High column on the new Lib Dem campaign for a council tax discount for special constables:

Crime unfortunately affects the vast majority of people at some point in life. When I’m out on the doorsteps or at my local constituency surgery – I often hear awful stories from people who have been victims of burglary or fraud, for instance.

On the whole, crime is currently falling – but we must remain vigilant. Figures recently revealed the Muswell Hill area to be in the top 10 UK ‘burglary hotspots’ – and other types of crime in the Wood Green area remain a concern to local residents.

The Haringey Liberal Democrats and I have a long history of working closely with our local police to tackle crime and to reassure residents about police action.

We opposed the Conservative Mayor of London’s changes to policing in the Capital, which saw Muswell Hill police front counter closed and Hornsey downgraded.  Now – we’re still campaigning for a replacement police base and front counter in Muswell Hill and for better street lighting in the Borough – in our bid to tackle crime.

In addition, we’ve just launched a campaign to give local Special Constables a 50% discount on their Council Tax.

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Special Constables have the same powers and responsibilities as regular police officers, and spend up to 16 hours a month volunteering with the police – all without pay – in order to help make our community safer.

We think these volunteers deserve to be rewarded for their hard work and assistance in tackling crime. And, if the Council Tax discount helps encourage more people to become Special Constables – all the better!

An increase in volunteer Special Constables will help support the local police in the borough – and make residents feel safer, too. In Haringey we only have 62 volunteer Special Constables – way behind other London boroughs like Barnet (who have 233) and Enfield (180).

Some other Councils in the UK are already awarding the volunteers. In Hull, for example, Special Constables are already able to claim a 50% discount on their Council Tax. It should be the same in Haringey, too!

We’re encouraging local residents to get involved in this campaign by signing a petition and registering their support. Residents can sign up here.

Later in the month, the Haringey Liberal Democrats will be presenting the petition and the proposal to Haringey Council – who will take the decision on whether to adopt it.

The more signatures we have, the more chance we have of convincing the Council and being able to reward our hard working police volunteers!