Barnet Labour have said they would recruit 30 more police officers if they gained control of the council.

Barnet Labour were joined by Shadow Brexit Secretary Sir Keir Starmer MP to announce their hope to allay residents' fears over crime by recruiting 30 more police officers if they gained control of the council in the May 3 elections.

According to the group, violent crime in Barnet has risen by almost a third since 2014, and a recent report showed a 10 per cent increase of reported anti-social behaviour.

Local shop owner Carol Reeman, who runs the popular Levain Bakery stall on Cricklewood Lane, said: "My customers want to see more police officers around. People need to know the police are there for them.

"We do have a problem with low-level crime like street drinking. Without the police stopping it at that level it starts to build up to being anti-social behaviour and affecting the customers who come to my stall.

"I've had verbal aggression and I was threatened with a punch in the face. I called the police about it but they didn't have anyone available and I realise there are serious crimes they have to deal with.

"It's got to the point where you feel guilty for phoning the police and you ask yourself how serious is my crime? You shouldn't have to feel like that."

The Labour group say they would part fund the new police officers and seek the other half of the funding from Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, and believe it would be at no cost to Barnet Council.

They have also said the government has called on Barnet Council to use their reserves to ensure policing is not diminished despite local authority budgets cuts.

Sir Keir said: "Crime and public safety are now the number one concerns for people in Barnet, reflecting the year on year increase in violent crime in the borough - Barnet Labour’s commitment to recruit 30 extra police officers to its new Safer Barnet Police Team is absolutely in tune with people’s concerns.

"The Safer Barnet Police Team will reinforce the council’s own enforcement officers so that they can be much more effective in tackling anti-social behaviour, drug dealing, modern slavery and criminal landlords. This in turn will free up resources for tackling burglary and other serious crime by Barnet Police.

"This is what people want from the council. The Conservatives in Barnet have let people down by refusing the offer of more police that was made by London Mayor Sadiq Khan."

Sir Keir also alleged that Barnet Council leader, Cllr Richard Cornelius, said recruiting more police in Barnet was "not worth the money" which he said flies in the face of evidence which shows having more police officers reduces crime,

But Cllr Cornelius has fought against these claims, saying that Barnet residents are already paying for less police support and it should be the Mayor of London who is entirely funding more officers on the beat.

He said: "Last year Barnet Council Tax payers ploughed £28.7million into the Met budget — more than any other London borough — but receive the fewest officers per head in return. Meanwhile we face the highest risk of burglary of any London borough and rapidly increasing rates of violent crime and theft.

“Labour want to pay for an extra 30 police constables by raiding our reserves. But those officers have already been paid for several times over and Mayor Khan’s tax hike will raise an extra £9.9 million in Barnet. We are asking him to put politics aside and deliver the officers our residents have paid for.”

Cllr Cornelius' comments come as it was announced Mayor Khan intends to raise council tax by 5.1 per cent in order to pay for more policing in London.

The council leader also wrote to the London Mayor over his proposals which has brought about the closure of Barnet police station, leaving only Colindale open for Barnet residents needing to speak to an officer, which he believes does not save money or time in getting to crimes quickly.

He wrote: "It is not the opinion of the council that the full cost of closure, replacement of facilities, IT and communication infrastructure, as well as wasted travel time, has been fully calculated."

The local elections take place on May 3.