Candidate carjacked as car crime soars in Barnet

A Conservative election candidate was carjacked only a day after official statistics revealed a 52 per cent increase in vehicle thefts in Barnet.

Pavan Thurai, a candidate for East Barnet, was parked in his black BMW 3 Series at Northfield Road, Cockfosters, on Friday evening when it was rammed from behind. When he got out he was pushed and the assailant drove off with his car.

He was targeted only one day after the Metropolitan Police released its year-end crime statistics for 2017/18, which showed a huge surge in violent crime in Barnet. As well as a 52 per cent increase in car theft, it showed robbery was up 53 per cent in the borough, burglary up 26 per cent, violence with a weapon up 20 per cent and rape up 15 per cent.

Mr Thurai, who was shaken by the experience but back knocking on doors today, said: “We were campaigning at 6.30pm that evening so I was waiting at our meeting point by Northfield Road, Cockfosters, at 6.10pm. I had parked the car and was on the phone.

“Three men in a car reversed into me and kept doing it until I got out to see what was happening. One of them then pushed me and jumped into my car and drove off. Thankfully nothing happened to me but there was canvassing material in the car.

“This area has become a crime hotspot and the Labour Mayor’s closure of Barnet Police Station has not helped. It’s the same area where a taxi driver was shot dead in February. We have been pressing the Mayor for more police officers and they are desperately needed in East Barnet.”

Labour’s Mayor closed the front desk at Barnet Police Station, only two miles from Northfield Road, at the end of 2017. A full closure of the station is expected later this year. The only remaining police station in Barnet is now in Colindale, to the far west of the borough. Colindale Police Station is as far from East Barnet as Edmonton Police Station. Each would take up to half an hour to reach by car and an hour by bus.

Cllr David Longstaff, chairman of Barnet Council’s community leadership committee, said on Friday the Mayor had left the borough underpoliced through his mismanagement of the Metropolitan Police’s resources.

He said: “These statistics will terrify most Barnet families, not least because we have the fewest police officers per head of any London borough, despite making the biggest contribution to the Met budget.

“Labour’s Mayor will no doubt try to blame the Government. But his mismanagement of the Met’s resources, as evidenced by the Inspectorate of Constabulary, means he wastes the money he already gets.

“He’s hiked Council Tax bills twice in two years in the name of maintaining police numbers but there are now 2,000 fewer officers in the Met and only one police station left in Barnet. Taxpayers’ money just seems to slip through his fingers.”

Under Conservative Mayor Boris Johnson, the Inspectorate of Constabulary ranked the Met ‘Good’ for efficiency in 2014, 2015, and 2016, in line with London’s surrounding Conservative-run police forces. In 2017, a year into the Labour Mayor’s term, it was downgraded to ‘Requires Improvement’.

Cllr Longstaff also criticised Barnet Labour’s plans as profligate and irresponsible.

He said: “Barnet Labour want to raid our reserves for almost £2 million to buy police officers from the Mayor — for just three years. Do they plan to make them redundant at the end of those three years? Or will they hike Council Tax for hard-pressed Barnet residents who have already paid for them several times over?

“I urge residents to vote Conservative on May 3rd to send a message to the Mayor that we want our fair share of police officers, and we want it now.”

Notes
  • A photo of Pavan Thurai, Conservative candidate for East Barnet, is available here.
  • A photo of Pavan with members of the Chipping Barnet Conservative team is available here. L-R: High Barnet Cllr David Longstaff, Totteridge Cllr Alison Cornelius, High Barnet candidate Julian Teare, Totteridge Cllr Caroline Stock, East Barnet candidate Felix Byers, Leader of Barnet Council and Totteridge Cllr Richard Cornelius, East Barnet candidate Pavan Thurai.
  • A photo of Conservative activists outside Barnet Police Station is available here.
  • The Met’s year end crime statistics for 2017/18 were published on Thursday 26th April here: https://www.met.police.uk/stats-and-data/year-end-crime-statistics/ A document containing the full statistics is available here.
  • Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary’s PEEL assessments into the Metropolitan Police for 2017, 2016, 2015, and 2014 can be viewed here: https://www.justiceinspectorates.gov.uk/hmicfrs/peel-assessments/peel-2017/metropolitan/
  • Barnet Labour’s alternative manifesto identified £518,750 to be taken from the Council’s reserves in 2018/19 to fund additional police officers as part of a “3 year project”. A copy is available here: http://barnet.moderngov.co.uk/documents/b30731/Labour%20Group%20Alternative%20Budget%2006th-Mar-2018%2019.00%20Council.pdf?T=9
  • Barnet has 736 residents per police officer. This is the most residents per officer in London. Camden, for example has 365 residents per officer.
  • Barnet’s MOPAC (Mayor’s Office for Policing & Crime) precept from 2017/18 Council Tax bills raised £28,662,170.37 — the most of any London borough.
  • The precept was raised by 5.8 per cent in 2018/19, raking an extra £2 million from Barnet taxpayers.