Fears raised over future of Tooting at policing meeting
There will be more police officers on the streets instead of stations, it was said during a public meeting discussing swingeing cuts to the service.
Stephen Greenhalgh, Boris Johnson's deputy mayor for policing, explained plans to close three front desks and replace them with more officers at the meeting at Wandsworth Town Hall on Tuesday.
The panel of speakers, which included assistant commissioner Simon Byrne and borough commander chief superintendent David Chinchen, said they were responding to the need for increases police visibility.
Mr Greenhalgh said: "We are putting bobbies before buildings. This is a general opportunity to put London with more police officers."
He also explained police officers will be reduced by one third, while the number of safer neighbourhood officers will increase in Wandsworth from 58 to 137.
The overall increase in police officers would however only be 15.
SNTs were the brainchild of former mayor Ken Livingstone and originally gave every ward one sergeant, two PCs and three PCSOs. Assistant commisioner Bryne argued "buildings don't catch burglars", with more people in London choosing to report crime over the phone instead of at a police station.
He said: "We want to see more police officers on the beat, we want the type of policing which works seven days a week.
"I want it to be clear that there is one person we hold to account for talking crime. And that is how the role of the neighbourhood enforcement is developing."
Councillor Jonathan Cook, cabinet member for community safety, voiced concerns Wandsworth was being assigned the same resources as an outer London borough.
MP for Tooting Sadiq Khan and Councillor Leoni Cooper highlighted the lack of police stations serving south of the borough, with Tooting police station being a comfort for residents with no internet access.
Councillor Caroline Usher called for an SNT dedicated to Balham Town Centre and MP for Battersea Jane Ellison wanted assurance there would be officers patrolling popular nightspots.
Chief Supt Chinchen said: "We won't be able to dedicate teams to a town centre in every borough but we could do that on a Friday and Saturday night. That is clearly on the radar."
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