Police chief defends officer numbers during Ilford Lane walkaround

Redbridge Borough Commander Sue Williams

Redbridge Borough Commander Sue Williams - Credit: Archant

A police chief has defended the borough’s policing after a councillor branded it “overwhelmed and understaffed” after going out on patrol with officers.

Borough commander Det Ch Supt Sue Williams said Redbridge was operating at “minimum capacity” at the time of Cllr Khayer Chowdhury’s “ride along” with officers – on the same day of the Trooping the Colour parade

The police chief said officers had to be supplied to the Queen’s birthday event but maintained that emergency response teams and safer neighbourhood teams were at the correct strength.

Cllr Chowdhury raised concerns after he claimed that there were about 12 officers policing the entire borough that day and that officers he met were concerned about staff numbers.

Det Ch Supt Williams said: “It was an extremely busy day for the Metropolitan Police Service.

“Redbridge, like any other borough, supplied officers to this event.

“As an outer borough we are often called upon to supply officers to central events, which is the Met’s role in policing London.”

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She added: “The councillor experienced a very busy shift while we were operating at minimum capacity.”

Cllr Chowdhury, who joined officers in an unmarked car in Ilford Lane, Ilford, said back room cuts were forcing frontline officers to undertake more paperwork.

Det Ch Supt Williams said: “The Met has made savings in recent years by centralising activities, losing buildings and reducing police staff numbers.”

She said “inefficiencies” within the Metropolitan Police had been removed as a result of the reorganisation.

“This reorganisation is relatively new to officers and some of the centralisation has presented us with a number of challenges which we are working through,” she said.

“Future cuts will no doubt change the way we deliver policing, but nothing has been agreed by the commissioner as to what those cuts may look like and how they will impact on local policing.”