Public outcry after police axe Kilburn High Road sergeant post

Locals fear that resources will be stretched too thinly

The sergeant’s post at Kilburn High Road’s specialist Safer Neighbourhood Team has been axed, sparking a public outcry.

The busy High Road will now be overseen by Sgt Eddie Odita, who heads up the rest of the Kilburn ward.

The decision was ratified by Supt Raj Kohli, of Camden Police, who says resources need to be placed in the necessary areas.

But members of the community believe sharing sergeants could lead to more crime in Kilburn because resources would be stretched.

June Perrin, co-ordinator of the Kingsgate Neighbourhood Watch in Kilburn, said: “It’s too much. I don’t think it is fair. I know they are making cuts but looking after the High Road is a job in itself. It will be too much for one officer to be responsible for the High Road as well as Kilburn ward.

“Crime rates have gone down in Kilburn but I’m concerned they could now begin to rise.”

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In July 2010, Camden and Brent police launched a shared Safer Neighbourhood Team to patrol the High Road.

But within a year the Metropolitan Police announced it would cut four sergeants from Camden.

However, at the time, Mr Kohli said Kilburn would be protected.

The High Road team has proved popular because it frees up Sgt Odita and his team to patrol the estates.

A spokesman for Camden police said: “We would like to reassure those living in the ward that this will not reduce the number of officers in the area.

“To all intents and purposes, the Kilburn SNT will grow in size, gaining the use of extra officers from the cross-border team who will carry out patrols in the ward. That said, the situation will remain under review to ensure that the best service is delivered.”

Last week Ch Supt Matthew Gardner, Brent Police borough commander, announced he is considering closing Willesden Police Station. He also revealed the number of officers in Brent has decreased.