Yesterday, the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan announced dramatic and damaging changes to local policing for Merton and London.
The changes would replace the Met’s current 32 borough model, by merging local policing across boroughs.
As part of the changes, Merton police will come together with Wandsworth, Kingston and Richmond to form 1 of 12 Basic Command Units (BCU).
BCUs will be expected to deliver frontline police services including neighbourhood policing, emergency response, CID and safeguarding. Each will be led by a chief superintendent who will be the BCU Commander. This move comes as the Met is being forced by the Tory Government to make further savings of £325m by 2021/2022 in addition to the £700m in cuts they have already suffered under the Conservatives.
Lib Dem campaigner & Wimbledon resident Paul Kohler is already bringing a court case to stop the closure of Wimbledon police station and 36 others across London. Reacting to the news, he said:
"Sadiq Khan cannot simply hide behind these foolish and dangerous Tory cuts. He needs to fight harder for the needs of Londoners and embrace a more imaginative approach that maintains police in the heart of our communities, rather than making them increasingly remote".
"Merton residents will be shocked by these proposals that will inevitably suck away key resources from Wimbledon, with its historic low levels of crime.
"Wimbledon is about to be hit by a triple whammy losing its police station, its borough commander and many of its officers. We currently live in one of the safest boroughs in London but crime is already beginning to rise and these dangerous cuts will simply exacerbate that problem."
London Liberal Democrat MP and Spokesperson on Home Affairs, Ed Davey said:
“With violent crime on the increase in the capital, the actions of both the Tories and Labour is inexplicable and irresponsible. The Liberal Democrats would increase the police budget to keep a reassuring police presence on our street and Londoners safe.
“London’s Labour Mayor cannot and must not simply hide behind Conservative cuts. His top priority must be to keep Londoners safe and use every means to do that rather than focussing on cuts and mergers.”