Top cop pledges to keep the streets of Kilburn safe
The new Camden borough commander promises to maintain extra force in Kilburn, despite cuts
The new police chief in Camden has pledged to continue providing extra funding for Kilburn High Road’s Safer Neighbourhood Team (SNT), despite cuts to policing budgets.
In his first interview with the Times since becoming borough commander, Chief Superintendent, John Sutherland promised that Kilburn’s town centre would remain a top priority for the force, even though the Government announced it was chopping police budgets by four per cent year on year.
The 40-year-old said: “The extra funding for the Kilburn High Road SNT is here to stay. This is a commitment both boroughs have made to resourcing the town centre.
“We need to be intelligent enough as an organisation to say that where there is extra demand there will be extra resources.”
In July, Camden and Brent police launched a shared SNT to patrol the high road in what was for both forces the first time they had created a cross border force.
However, Labour MPs had expressed fears that the future of the team was in doubt after the Metropolitan Police Authority announced plans to cut 455 officers across London.
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But Chief Supt Sutherland dispelled these fears and said the short and medium term future was not under threat.
He said: “I think the creation of Safer Neighbourhood Teams is one of the most profoundly important developments in policing for a generation. We are not about to back away from that.
“Neighbourhood policing works. Crime in Camden has been falling over the last five years and it is not a coincidence that trend coincides with the creation of SNTs.
“Often the experience of policing has been one of sticking a plaster over a problem without healing the wound. SNTs are the the first opportunity we have sincerely had to do more than that.
“I can unequivocally say that Safer Neighbourhood Teams are here to stay. It is my intention to maintain an independent team in each of the Camden wards.”
However, he said SNT officers may be taken from one ward and redeployed in another when operations require extra staff, although he said this would not result in a permanent decrease in officers in wards with low crime rates.
Chief Supt Sutherland, who lives in London with his wife and three daughters, also highlighted youth crime and domestic violence as key priorities, and said that response units shift patterns are changing to ensure more officers are working at the busiest times.
He said: “I am an optimist. Clearly these are difficult times but there are also opportunities. I am the happiest man in the world to be doing this job.”