The government plans to cut victim support funding across London by up to 40%. The Secretary of State for Justice and his team are consulting on proposals to apportion funds to victim support services based on population, rather than the amount of crime and number of victims in a given area.
This will impact negatively on London, as the capital accounts for 20-25% of recorded crime nationally, but has only 15% of the nation’s population. The funding changes will mean the amount of money available for victim support across the capital will fall from £13.3million to £8.2million, a cut of over £5million.
The plans have been criticised by the Mayor of London and his policing deputy in recent correspondence to the Ministry of Justice.
I had the privilege to visit Wood Green Crown Court this morning to see, first-hand, the great work that victim support services do for people as they move through the justice system. Without these vital services, many people will be left unsupported and ill-equipped to deal with the pressurised environment of a court setting.
The government must drop these reckless plans and properly fund victim support services in the capital. These changes will mean victims of crime in London will not receive the support they need. Policing in Hackney, Islington and Waltham Forest is already under real strain with, respectively in the three Boroughs, 145, 138 and 2 police officers being cut since May 2010, with a total of 2,500 police officers cut across the capital. It’s more important than ever that victim support services are properly funded.
In London we have an emerging cross-party consensus that the government must not cut back on this vital service. The government still have time to listen and I will continue to highlight the impact of this disastrous plan until the government changes tack.
Even Mayor Boris Johnson, who has provided cover for government cuts to policing more generally, has described these latest plans as “ludicrous”. With the government’s proposed funding model for victim services, we will end up with funding in quieter parts of the country of £22 per victim, but in London it will be £12. It seems illogical to me that the government thinks victims in London are worth less and deserve less support than elsewhere in the country.