Redbridge borough commander discusses potential police merger at meeting
PUBLISHED: 10:45 14 October 2016 | UPDATED: 11:48 14 October 2016
Plans to merge Redbridge Police with neighbouring boroughs, drug busts and the performance of the council’s enforcement team were all discussed at a meeting of the Safer Neighbourhood Board last night.
Speaking at the meeting at Forest House, Clements Road, Ilford, Redbridge’s top police officer, Ch Supt Mandy Beacher, revealed that provisional plans to combine Redbridge borough with Havering and Barking and Dagenham had been drawn up, but that no final decisions had been made.
The borough commander said: “The discussion that we’ve had with the deputy mayor for policing is that we have got to make some structural changes to the police service - some of it is efficiency in terms of cost-saving, some of it is changes that need to be made for the mayor to deliver on his promises and he’s fully supportive that actually we need to make a difference to the way we do our business.
“We are in discussions, so there have been no final decisions, but we are discussing a possible borough merger.
“The Metropolitan Police, at a senior level, have held meetings with all three chief executives together, and all the council leaders have been involved, and preliminary discussions have been positive, but they have asked for more time to discuss the political landscape before they make a decision whether or not to go ahead.”
Ch Supt Beacher stated that caveats existed that meant all three boroughs would have to volunteer for the merger, that it would be entirely reversible if it were deemed a failure and that each borough’s crime statistics would be kept as a baseline to clearly show the impact of the change.
There will be no public consultation on the plans.
Redbridge Council’s cabinet member for civic pride, Cllr Ross Hatfull, told those present he was in favour of the merger.
He said: “We’re generally quite supportive of this because we would still have a super intendant at borough level, and then we’d have a chief super covering all three.
“From a strategic point of view we think that would be useful because crime doesn’t stop at borough boundaries; it’s no good us enforcing against people seeking prostitution on Ilford Lane up to where Barking and Dagenham begins and then turning around and going home - you have to take a cross borough approach.”
Cllr Hatfull also expressed high hopes for the potential sharing of resources across three boroughs, and stressed that any merger would not be “as bad as it sounds”.
The borough commander also provided details of a series of drug raids around Ilford station that saw 22 people arrested early last month, with 18 charged with conspiracy to supply class A and B drugs.
Some have pleaded guilty and are awaiting sentences, while others are due to appear in court next February.
Cllr Hatfull also provided those in attendance with the latest performance statistics for the council’s enforcement officers, a full report on which will be available in next week’s Ilford Recorder.