Mayor must come clean on future of neighbourhood police teams

All 20 wards in the City of Westminster are each currently covered by a safer neighbourhood team (SNT) made up of a minimum of one sergeant, two police constables and three police community support officers. But reports from boroughs across London suggest that the make up of the teams could be changed.

Labour Assembly member Murad Qureshi said:

"Safer neighbourhood teams work well and are highly valued in the City of Westminster. But despite Boris Johnson’s promise to support them we’re getting mixed messages about their future. The Mayor must come clean and be honest with Londoners about the reality of his cuts and whether our team is safe."

In Merton it was reported last week that, "The Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Sir Paul Stephenson, and Kit Malthouse, London�s Deputy Mayor in charge of policing, are demanding borough police forces scrap the existing "one-two-three" structure where each SNT has one sergeant, two constables and three community support officers."

And on BBC London last night, it was reported that in the City of Westminster the police are proposing to merge 14 electoral wards in the north of the borough, each currently covered by six officers, into five bigger districts. "These proposals would result in a 50 per cent reduction in the number of sergeants, leaving those remaining responsible for policing a wider area", according to the BBC.

Acting Met commissioner Tim Godwin told the Metropolitan Police Authority (MPA) last week that the number of neighbourhood policing sergeants will be halved from 630 to 330 by the end of 2013.

Boris Johnson said in 2008, "I fully support the Safer Neighbourhood Team model, and I am committed to ensuring that there at least 6 officers in every ward." 

The MPA is currently reviewing safer neighbourhood teams and is due to report later this month.

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Murad Qureshi is a London wide Assembly member and a former councillor in the City of Westminster.

For further information please contact Alison Marcroft on 020 7983 4363