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Thread: Smith admits London street fear
01-20-08, 05:26 AM #1
Smith admits London street fear
Home Secretary Jacqui Smith has admitted she would not feel safe walking around London after dark.
Ms Smith told the Sunday Times that she would not be comfortable alone at night in deprived parts of the capital, as well as more affluent areas.
Asked if she would feel safe walking alone in the Hackney neighbourhood, Ms Smith replied: "Well, no, but I don't think I'd have ever have done."
Labour says crime is down compared to the Tories' time in power in the 1990s.
In the interview with the Sunday Times, Ms Smith was asked why she would not feel safe on Hackney's streets at night.
She replied: "Well, I just don't think that's a thing that people do, is it, really?"
She was also questioned about how she would feel if she was walking through the more affluent area of Kensington and Chelsea after dark.
"Well, I wouldn't walk around at midnight and I'm fortunate that I don't have to do that," she said.
Ms Smith told the newspaper she used to walk around Redditch, her constituency in Worcestershire, but added that she no longer got the chance because she was protected by police bodyguards.
"I don't get the opportunity to get out on my own now but I certainly have done in the recent past," she said.
Following the interview, the newspaper claimed it was contacted by one of the home secretary's aides who said that Ms Smith's remarks had not come out as she had intended.
The aide added that Ms Smith had recently "bought a kebab in Peckham" - an area of south London considered one of the most deprived.
Figures released by the Metropolitan Police in October last year showed overall crime in London had dropped 6.1% between April and September 2007, but that gun crime had risen by nearly 10%.
Ms Smith told the newspaper the government had a "big job" to persuade people that towns and cities had not become more dangerous.
"I understand that whilst it's a fact that crime is falling, what you want to know is what's happening on your street; what the police officers in your area are doing and who they are," she said.
"That's one thing we'll provide to people. Serious violence is something we need to address."
01-20-08, 05:29 AM #2
Home secretary Jacqui Smith scared of walking London alone
JACQUI SMITH, the home secretary, has admitted she would feel unsafe walking the streets of London late at night.
In an interview with The Sunday Times, she said she would not feel comfortable out alone after dark in deprived areas such as Hackney or even affluent ones like Kensington or Chelsea. She claimed streets at night were safer after 10 years of Labour in power but opposition politicians said her comments exposed the failure of the government’s policies on crime.
In the interview, Smith, the first woman home secretary, was asked whether she would feel safe walking on her own around Hackney at midnight. She replied: “Well, no, but I don’t think I’d ever have done. You know, I would never have done that, at any point during my life.” Asked why not, she answered: “Well, I just don’t think that’s a thing that people do, is it, really?”
It was pointed out that some people, such as shift workers, had no choice. She was also asked whether she would feel unsafe walking around an area such as Kensington and Chelsea.
“Well, I wouldn’t walk around at midnight and I’m fortunate that I don’t have to do that,” she replied.
Smith, who is protected by police bodyguards, said she had walked around Redditch, her Worcestershire constituency. “I don’t get the opportunity to walk around on my own now but I certainly have done in the recent past, on my own.”
After the interview, a worried aide called The Sunday Times saying the wording had not come out as the home secretary had intended. She said Smith had recently “bought a kebab in Peckham” at night. The south London district is one of the most deprived in the capital.
Chris Huhne, the Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman, said: “It’s astonishing the home secretary admits that after 10 years of a Labour government, our capital is a no-go area for women at night.”
Crime has fallen but research last year found most people do not believe the figures. Only a quarter say they feel confident the government is cutting crime.
In a YouGov survey in August, 46% of Londoners said they did not feel safe in their neighbourhoods at night. Last year in Hackney, police recorded a 10% rise in crimes to 2,715, including 580 violent assaults, 112 muggings and seven rapes. In Kensington and Chelsea, crime fell 13%.
Other figures reported last night showed a 21% rise in violent crime nationally among 10 to 17-year-olds in three years.
The Home Office declined to comment on reports that Smith would soon fund expanded use of walk-through scanners at school doors to detect knives carried by pupils.
Smith admitted the government had a “big job” to persuade people urban areas had not become more dangerous. “I understand that whilst it’s a fact that crime is falling, what you want to know is what’s happening on your street; what the police officers in your area are doing and who they are. That’s one thing we’ll provide to people. Serious violence is something we need to address.”
01-20-08, 12:04 PM #3After the interview, a worried aide called The Sunday Times saying the wording had not come out as the home secretary had intended. She said Smith had recently “bought a kebab in Peckham” at night.
Crime has fallen but research last year found most people do not believe the figures. Only a quarter say they feel confident the government is cutting crime.The true measure of your character is what you choose to do when you think no one is looking.
01-20-08, 12:08 PM #4
Of course she wouldn't be safe! After turning downthe full police pay rise, she should be careful.To be born an Englishman, is to be a winner in the Lottery of Life.
I've Talked the Talk and I've Walked the Walk, now I Sit the Sit!
It's not until you look at an Ant through a magnifying glass on a sunny day, that you realise just how often they burst into flames for no reason!
01-20-08, 01:02 PM #5
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