Local MP, Ed Davey described the Mayor of London’s plans, announced today, to merge police forces across the capital as a ‘huge blow’ to local policing. The changes replace the Met’s current 32 borough model with 12 Basic Command Units (BCUs), with Kingston police merging with Wandsworth, Merton and Richmond.
BCUs will be expected to deliver frontline police services including neighbourhood policing, emergency response, CID and safeguarding. Each will be led by a chief superintendent who will be the BCU Commander. This move comes as the Met is being forced by the Tory Government to make further savings of £325m by 2021/2022 in addition to the £700m in cuts they have already suffered under the Conservatives.
Commenting, Ed Davey said:
“The Tories’ decision to cut the police budget means Kingston has lost over 40 police officers since 2015, with that number expected to rise in the next few years.
This announcement of the merger Kingston, Merton, Richmond and Wandsworth by the Mayor is a further blow to our local police force and shows the funding crisis faced by the Met.
With violent crime on the increase in the capital, the actions of both the Tories and Labour is inexplicable and irresponsible.
The Liberal Democrats would increase the police budget to keep a reassuring police presence on our streets, and we would keep policing at the heart of our communities where it belongs.
London’s Labour Mayor cannot and must not simply hide behind Conservative cuts. His top priority must be to keep Londoners safe and use every means to do that.”