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Brent's Police teams under threat

London Mayor Boris Johnson gives green light to Brent police to change make up of safer neighbourhood teams.

Every ward in London is currently covered by a fixed model of one police sergeant, two constables and three community support officers. But Boris Johnson says this could be about to change. Supposedly ‘safer wards’ should have ‘flexibility’ to change the teams, the Mayor said this week.

If the ‘flexible’ working approach was deployed it would be critical to ensure that the so-called ‘safe’ wards do not end up being neglected areas and crime hotspots, wiping out all the good work carried out over the past years and endangering strong partnerships with local communities.

He said it was up to local police to decide whether they need the teams. "It would be crazy for me to order them to have a one size fits all approach", he told London Assembly members.

Local Labour Assembly member, Navin Shah, said: “Brent is already affected by the reduction in police numbers due to the freeze on recruitment. Neighbourhood policing in London has been a great success, and the model has worked well. It's worrying that the model which has served Brent for the last five years now appears to be under threat at the same time the number of officers on the beat is going to go down.”

At this month's mayor's question time on 17 November Boris Johnson said: "I don't want to be absolutely rigid about this. I'm not saying every ward has to have an identical configuration of sergeants, constables and PCSOs." He went on, "I'm not anticipating what the shape of the force is going to be after we've been through this process …. These are operational matters. I think that borough commanders will want to have some flexibility in deciding how their resources are to be distributed across their wards. Some wards will clearly be safer than others... I think there's a case for them to be give some margin for manoeuvre."

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23rd November 2010