MP warns Haringey and Enfield police merger ‘puts public safety at risk’
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The MP for Hornsey and Wood Green has attacked a shake up of policing after it was revealed Haringey and Enfield forces will merge.
Labour’s Catherine West said: “At a time when violent knife, gun and moped crime are rising and police numbers falling, this decision is the latest in a long line of errors that puts the public’s safety at risk.”
Under the merger Haringey and Enfield will pool resources under a basic command unit (BCU), one of 12 across London in the capital’s biggest shake up of policing for years.
After the plans were announced earlier today, London Mayor Sadiq Khan was quick to blame government cuts for the changes with £600million shaved off the Met’s budget in a previous round and the force having to find another £325m by 2021. The number of officers is projected to fall to 30,000 by April this year.
Mayor Khan said: “I want to reassure Londoners the new units have been designed with their safety as the absolute priority.”
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On the cuts, Ms West warned: “This level of reduction is simply a green light for criminals. We know you cannot protect communities on the cheap, yet home secretary Amber Rudd continues to shred the budget of the police to the bone.”
Haringey and Enfield’s merger follows a pilot between Camden and Islington forces in January. Since that merger Catherine Roper, the boroughs’ top cop, has stood down. Barnet, Brent and Harrow forces will also merge under the plans.
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Met deputy asst comm Mark Simmons said: “BCUs will allow us to to put first victims of crime and the people who need us most. Our new structure will give us the resilience and consistency we need so we can continue to respond to large scale incidents and meet the challenges we are facing.”
A Met spokesman said the force’s “core functions” – police on the streets, responses to emergencies, detective work and the protection of vulnerable people – would be carried out in a “more consistent way” as a result of the mergers.
A Home Office spokeswoman said: “There is more money and more officers for each Londoner than anywhere else in the country. The Mayor is accountable to the London public for police performance and is empowered to raise the precept to increase funding for the Met by around £43 million.
“The Met will receive £2.5 billion in direct resource funding in 2018-19, of which over £1.9 billion is government funding and £634million from the precept if maximised.
“The Met also has £240million of reserves, to cover unexpected costs and invest, for example in better technology,” she added.