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Plan to merge Camden and Islington police forces a ‘national travesty’

PUBLISHED: 11:08 21 November 2016 | UPDATED: 11:28 21 November 2016

Jessica Learmond-Criqui, chair of Frognal and Fitzjohns Safer Neighbourhoods Panel

Jessica Learmond-Criqui, chair of Frognal and Fitzjohns Safer Neighbourhoods Panel

Archant

A pilot scheme merging Camden and Islington police resources has been branded a “precursor to anarchy” by a community leader.

DCS Catherine Roper, commander of Camden and Islington basic command unitDCS Catherine Roper, commander of Camden and Islington basic command unit

Chair of Frognal and Fitzjohns Safer Neighbourhoods Panel Jessica Learmond-Criqui said the plans – which will create a new “basic command unit” for the two boroughs based on a pooling of officers, buildings and technology – would put residents at risk.

“This is ridiculous,” she said. “Soon we won’t have a viable police force.”

But the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) said the pilot, which begins in January 2017, is necessary to “modernise” the force.

An MPS statement explained: “To deliver a service to local communities which is efficient, flexible and fit for the future, the Met is testing a change to the way local policing is managed across London.”

It added: “The new model brings together the management of neighbourhoods, response, investigation and protection of vulnerable people, including child protection, victims of sexual abuse and domestic abuse.”

But Ms Learmond-Criqui, a solicitor, said the measure was a “cost-cutting exercise”.

“Why don’t they just call it what it is?” she said.

She added: “The government and mayor are not funding the Met properly and the result is people will suffer.

“This is a national travesty.”

Meanwhile DCS Catherine Roper – the current Islington borough commander who will oversee the merged force – said the pilot “offers the opportunity to flex our available resources”.

She said: “The BCU model has at its heart the principle of neighbourhood policing, ensuring dedicated assets work with local people, with an increased focus overall in protecting the most vulnerable in our boroughs.”

“This includes an increase of both specialist skills and proactive capability.”


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