Mitcham and Morden was one of the first places in the country to introduce community policing, and Safer Neighbourhood Police Teams remain popular. But Siobhain fears this model of community policing is under threat.
The Mayor of London is consulting about replacing Safer Neighbourhood Teams of 6 officers (1 Sergeant, 2 PCs, and 3 PCSOs) permanently based in every neighbourhood with a centralised group of officers who constantly move around.
The total number of officers in London will also be lower, with at least 1,100 fewer Sergeants and senior Police Officers, and over 900 fewer PCSOs. The Mayor claims these will be partly offset by an extra 1,279 PCs, but it is expected that many of these will be junior staff or recently promoted PCSOs.
The reduction in Mitcham and Morden could be greater than elsewhere, because resources will be focused on high-crime Boroughs, and Merton as a whole has below average crime levels.
Meanwhile, the Mayor is proposing to close the 24-hour police counter at Mitcham Police Station, and the police are also considering shutting local Safer Neighbourhood Team offices across the Borough.
The fear is that the Mayor's proposals will result in the police losing its connection with local communities, just like they did in the 70s, 80s and 90s, when the police preferred to sit centrally in police stations or cars rather than walk the street talking to local people.
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