Metropolitan Police confirm Brent police to merge with Barnet and Harrow

Kilburn Police Station

Kilburn Police Station - Credit: Archant

Brent Central’s MP has slammed the plan for Brent police force to merge with Harrow and Barnet, after it was confirmed by the Metropolitan Police.

12 basic command units (BCUs) will be introduced across the capital over the next year, after pilots in Camden and Islington, and Barking and Dagenham, Redbridge and Havering boroughs.

The move will combine core policing functions of neighbourhoods, emergency response, CID and safeguarding.

Currently the Metropolitan Police operates with 32 separate borough police forces.

The move was announced this morning by the Metropolitan Police.

The force pointed out they still have to make further savings of £323m by 2021/22.

Police numbers are expected to fall to 30,000 by April, and even further by 2021.

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However MP for Brent Central Dawn Butler said the move, alongside further cuts, would put people at risk: “It has become clear that you cannot keep people safe on the cheap.

“I work closely with Brent police on a number of initiatives to tackle anti-social behaviour and crime hotspots in the borough. The police do their best to keep our streets safe yet these cuts are damaging to the safety and quality of policing.

“Merging of the three boroughs into one police force threatens the very core of Brent’s community policing ethos. I am grateful that the Mayor of London has increased our safer neighbourhood teams who are vital to community safety but there are still concerns that this move will undermine policing as a whole.

“I urge Theresa May to make a commitment to fund our police force adequately.

“The last Labour government increased the policing budget by 31% and the next Labour government would be no different, we will stand up for our local police forces and ensure we have an additional 10,000 police on our streets.”

A spokesperson said: “We need to plan for a future with less and become more resilient so we can continue to meet our financial and operational challenges, and our current and future policing challenges - terrorism and safeguarding in particular.

“Without significant changes in how we manage our resources we would be unable to meet these head on.”

As part of the changes, the Met said there would be more police working with young people, schools and care homes.

They are also set to introduce ‘multi-agency hubs’ for safeguarding issues. Police officers and child safeguarding professionals will work together to ensure that referrals are made through the same team.

Response officers will also be trained to investigate crimes they attend, rather than passing them onto colleagues.

Deputy assistant commissioner Mark Simmons is leading the mergers. He said: “BCUs will allow us to put first victims of crime and those people who need us the most. Our new structure will also give us the resilience and consistency we need across the whole of London, so we can continue to respond to large scale incidents and meet the financial and operational challenges we are facing.”