Police chief refutes figures alleging a tenth of Camden officers lost since last year

Camden’s police chief has refuted figures which suggest 92 officers have left the local force since May last year and claimed frontline policing has been “barely affected”.

More than 10 per cent of the borough’s police officers have been wiped from its roster, according to figures released under the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act.

But Borough Commander John Sutherland said the force’s numbers were now back on target.

Andrew Dismore, the Greater London Assembly Labour candidate for Camden and Barnet, sought out the figures.

He said residents would be concerned about the alleged fall in police numbers at a time when the Metropolitan Police had to call in emergency help from across the country to deal with the London riots.

And two weeks ago Camden Police launched an awareness campaign after street robberies soared by 50 per cent in a year.

Mr Dismore said: “There is no doubt that the public do not want to see cuts in frontline policing. We have been collecting signatures on a petition against these cuts and have hundreds of signatures.”

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Chief Superintendent Sutherland, who has been in post for just under a year, said he could account for 29 police officer jobs that have been lost since last May.

But he was unsure about the remaining 63 posts which have allegedly been lost according to the FOI figures.

The Metropolitan Police went on a recruitment drive last year in preparation for the Olympics and he suggested this could have artificially boosted figures for May 2010.

He said: “The real impact on policing is the loss of the four Safer Neighbourhood sergeant posts, but equally I’m confident we can maintain our Safer Neighbourhood capabilities.”