Council members across the UK are debating a controversial decision to give police officers priority when it comes to buying low-cost housing in the area they serve for. Currently, many police officers have to live in areas well outside the ones that they actually serve, which is proving expensive for many officers, especially those working for constabularies in London and the surrounding areas.
Hammersmith and Fulham council have already gone ahead with the plan due to the fact that it is extremely difficult for police officers to buy property in the area as the borough has the fourth highest property prices in the whole of the UK, with an average deposit for a property costing fifty thousand pounds. Cabinet member for housing at Hammersmith and Fulham council, Councillor Andrew Johnson said: “Police officers are amongst the pillars of the community but too many of them are forced to live well off-patch due to the astronomical property prices. We believe that police officers that live in the community that they serve have a far greater connection with local residents and better understand the crime priorities of their neighbourhoods.”
“This borough is extremely polarised as far as housing is concerned. As well as some extremely expensive housing, 31 per cent of homes in the borough are social rented – well above the London average. There is hardly any housing for people on middle incomes – in fact only two per cent is intermediate. As the borough of housing opportunity, we want to build on that paltry figure so that decent hard working people such as police officers can live in this borough.”
Meanwhile, the borough’s police commander, chief superintendent Lucy D’Orsi said: “This is a welcome step forward for housing in the borough. I hope that our officers will consider the benefits of living within the community that they work so hard to police and provide reassurance for.” Landlords who currently let out their properties to police officers in the surrounding Hammersmith and Fulham areas may find themselves losing out due to this new policy however, which is why it is important for them to invest in a landlord insurance policy that includes unoccupied property insurance in order to protect their livelihoods.