The borough's parks police service will be disbanded and replaced by Metropolitan police officers.

Councillors voted for the plans to go ahead at a full council meeting last week, despite receiving a petition opposing the move with 1,372 signatures from residents.

It will mean the existing 23 parks police will be replaced by a team of 12 Metropolitan police officers to patrol its parks and open spaces.

They will be backed by a team of five existing park police officers to be used for public events.

The council is using the Mayor of London's three year 'buy one get one free scheme' to pay the wages of half of the new officers, making a saving of £400,000 a year.

A council spokesperson said they will look to negotiate and extend the offer beyond the three years.

Councillor Jonathan Cook, cabinet member for environment and community safety said: "For the first time in 26 years our parks and open spaces will be patrolled on a daily basis by a dedicated squad of Metropolitan police officers with the full range of police powers, training, equipment and resources."

But opposition councillors criticised the lack of public consultation over the decision and fear the offer will not be extended.

Labour councillor Leonie Cooper said: "The parks and open spaces of Wandsworth are what brings many people to the borough.

"We need them to be safe pleasant spaces, and 12 Met officers is not enough to guarantee that.

"It would seem that helping the Conservative Mayor of London solve his budget problem is more important than what local people want and need."

The vote still went ahead despite the submission of a business proposal by the parks police and their UNISON representative which argued more savings could be made if the service was retained.

A UNISON spokesman said: "We are not going to be better off, they are going for quick buck and we will be looking at all angles and the possibilites of taking legal action."

The park police service will be disbanded by April next year.