A new Leader has been nominated at Hammersmith & Fulham Council as Cllr Stephen Greenhalgh has been proposed by Boris Johnson to be London’s new deputy mayor for policing.
Cllr Nick Botterill was last night nominated by his group as Cllr Greenhalgh's successor, subject to a vote at full council on May 30. Cllr Greg Smith has been nominated as his deputy.
Seen by many as one the most influential council leaders in the country, Cllr Greenhalgh will formally step down as Hammersmith & Fulham Council Leader on May 30 and is set take up his new role running the Mayor’s Office for Crime and Policing during the Olympics and beyond. He will stand down as a local councillor subject to his new role being confirmed.
Cllr Greenhalgh, who announced his intention to step down before Christmas, has been H&F Council Leader since 2006 and led the local authority as it cut council tax for five years out of six – including Britain’s biggest cut (3.75%) this year.
Working with the local Police, H&F was the first council in the country to introduce and pay for extra round the clock beat policing in the three Town Centres. Gun offences have halved in the past 12 months and overall crime is down in H&F for the sixth year out of seven, according to the latest Met Police figures. This year’s decrease means that in total there have been 13,198 fewer crimes in H&F since 2006.
“In my time as Council Leader we have delivered the biggest tax cuts in Britain, some of the best services in London and dramatically reduced our historic debt mountain to less than £100 million for the first time in 26 years*. But now is the time for new challenges.
"In H&F more burglars, thieves and violent criminals are now behind bars thanks to our no nonsense approach to cracking down on crime and I am relishing the opportunity to help the Mayor cut crime across London.”
Cllr Nick Botterill said following last night's vote by his group:
"It is an honour and a privilege to be nominated to be Leader of not only the best council in London, but the best council in Britain."
Recently H&F, Westminster City Council and the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea announced 'Tri-borough' plans to combine some services and management costs to save £40million a year across the three areas by 2015/16.
The council currently spends £1.6million a year to pay for three enhanced town centre squads of beat bobbies – meaning the borough has 44 more police officers than it would do otherwise. There has also been a dramatic increase in the number of H&F neighbourhood watch groups – up from just six in 2006 to more than 150 today.
Cllr Greenhalgh added:
"I had intended to honour my commitments as a backbench councillor but, unfortunately, it is clear that, based on the current legislation this would appear not to be possible. Therefore, with regret, it is now my intention to stand down from the council, subject to confirmation to the new post."