Safer Neighbourhood policing was a hugely positive, and popular, change to the way policing operated, with its central aim of linking teams permanently to a local area in order to develop local links and knowledge, says Karen Buck MP.
When many of London’s police stations closed last year (including our own St John’s Wood and Harrow Road stations) and the new ‘police model’ was brought in, we were promised safer neighbourhood policing would be even stronger.
In fact, new figures released by the Mayor of London show that 463 police officers have been cut in Westminster, a drop of 28% since May 2010. The number of borough-based police officers in Westminster has dropped from 1628 in May 2010 to 1165 in January 2014. Across London, the number of police officers has declined by 3,111 (9%). Many of our local teams have been drastically cut back, with fewer staff and more duties- but without the back-up we were told they could call on.
According to London Assembly member Murad Qureshi, the Mayor has already admitted that there may be flaws in his new community policing plan and the inspectorate, HMIC has reported that the Met now has the third lowest visibility of officers in the country. The Mayor needs to act on his promise and get officers into our neighbourhoods.
At a policing plenary on 5th March, the Mayor admitted that “there may be unintended consequences of the Local Policing Model that are leading to problems on borough boundaries”. At the same meeting, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe confirmed that he would be reviewing the model in the coming months.