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Police borough commanders posts in Brent, Harrow and Barnet could be merged

PUBLISHED: 08:00 29 November 2015

Left to right: Borough commanders Michael Gallagher from Brent, Adrian Usher from Barnet and Simon Ovens from Harrow

Left to right: Borough commanders Michael Gallagher from Brent, Adrian Usher from Barnet and Simon Ovens from Harrow

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Met Police chiefs are considering merging the police borough commanders in Brent, Harrow and Barnet into a single role as part of a dramatic shake-up of policing aimed at slashing £800 million from budgets, it has been revealed.

The tri-borough merger would see police chief posts slashed and overall control of policing in the boroughs brought under the control of a single commander.

A spokeswoman for the Metropolitan Police confirmed exclusively to the Brent & Kilburn Times that merging of borough commanders is being considered alongside further “amalgamation” of staff, buildings and resources as part of a raft of options presented to the Met’s ongoing spending review.

Mergers, which are said to be on the table along with a clampdown on numbers of senior staff across London, is described as one of the options being looked in a bid to save forces an estimated £800 million- £1.4 billion in the next four years.

Navin Shah, Labour London Assembly Member for Brent and Harrow, told the Times: “Plans to merge borough commanders could be the next step in the butchering of the Police service in London.

“In Brent, where there are high levels of violent crime, we need a dedicated commander as well as PCSO’s and frontline officers.

“Even though nothing has been finalized yet, the idea of mergers is a very worrying and regressive step and I fear the local focus of policing will be lost, with a commander potentially not even located in the borough.”

The negotiations have already drawn fire from Met Police chief Bernard Hogan-Howe who told the London Evening Standard that cuts could lead to between 5,000-8,000 job losses and curtail frontline officers’ ability to keep London safe.

The police spokeswoman confirmed that large constabularies such as Westminster are already being used as pilots to test the efficiency of merging resources and staffing ahead of final budget decisions expected next year.

The spokeswoman for Metropolitan Police said: “The Metropolitan Police Service is undergoing a significant transformational change programme.

“As part of this we are looking at many options for change, one of which is implementing a model which will see a number of boroughs sharing services and resources.

“No decisions will be made until the Met’s budget position is clear.

She added: “Potential mergers could result in amalgamated staff as an option we are looking at”.

In 2012, Mayor of London Boris Johnson rejected proposals to merge the borough commanders of Barnet and Harrow and underlined the need for a “single figure at the top of every borough who is directly and immediately accountable for policing- that is the borough commander.”

In September it was revealed the authority is considering scrapping all 24 PCSO’s in the borough or retaining just one per ward.

Since May 2010 Brent has lost 227 uniformed officers and 111 PCSOs.

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