Redbridge community police sergeants to be axed
Plans to reorganise safer neighbourhood teams (SNTs) will “put policing back 20 years,” according to a councillor.
Fourteen wards in Redbridge will lose their own community sergeant when seven posts are cut and the leadership of teams is merged.
Borough commander Det Chief Supt Sue Williams will have the power to temporarily move safer neighbourhood officers to deal with problems elsewhere in the borough under the plans which come into force next month.
But Conservative Cllr Paul Canal fears combining his Bridge ward with Monkhams, on the other side of the Central Line, will lead to rising crime figures and communication breakdowns.
He said: “One reason we have had success in Ilford North is police have got to know people and have earned the respect of residents.
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“That will all be lost by these changes.”
He added: “The loss of sergeants on this scale, at a time when we have the highest increase in burglaries in London, is causing serious concern.”
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Four teams will move from their current base to Barkingside Police Station, but Redbridge police maintain it will be “business as usual” for safer neighbourhood teams.
Mrs Williams said: “Apart from the reduction in sergeants, this is business as usual for safer neighbourhoods [teams] but with added flexibility and some additional roles which can only enhance our performance.”
Redbridge has been forced to impose the cuts by the Metropolitan Police Service after it carried a review into community police.
Seven wards will not be affected.
John Hoad, chairman of Mayfield Safer Neighbourhood Panel, said: “My biggest concern is that we will get a dilution of service if teams are moved and I will raise that with the borough commander.
“We have had a big surge in burglaries and antisocial behaviour in Mayfield recently.”
Take Action for Seven Kings member Chris Connelly said: “Sergeants taking care of two zones will be much more tied up in managerial decisions, they could become pen pushers.”
Redbridge Council said: “The pressures on all areas of public service mean that difficult decisions have to be made.”