“Bromley police will have to merge - with Lewisham”
12:56 19 May 2011
Bromley’s borough commander has warned the only way the Metropolitan Police Service will get through the spending cuts will be to merge services with other boroughs - and claimed this is more likely to be with Lewisham than Bexley.
Charles Griggs has already had a £58,000 reduction in his budget for next year which now stands at £3,909,000 but says this will reduce drastically after the Olympic Games next year, cautioning residents not to be lulled the enemy into a false sense of security.
Approximately 30 police officers out of 509 are set to go in Bromley over the next year but no redundancies are expected, as bosses expect more than this many officers will apply for vacancies in other parts of London.
Mr Griggs said: “It should be natural movement within the MPS. 100 officers a year in Bromley apply for jobs within the MPS. There is a huge churn.
“The Olympics next year is a cushion that will soften the blow of budget cuts. If you look at the local authority cuts they are front loaded. But we have the Olympics coming and the MPS is not going to cut its numbers when the largest spectator event in the world is on its doorstep.
“The challenge will be post Olympics. We cannot be lulled into a false sense of security.
“There will be lots of shared services and the MPS is currently looking into this. There is power in working with partners across boundaries. We have got to move with the times. The MPS is a big organisation. If you resist change you might as well pack up and go home. The public demand quality and low taxes. I can’t be precious about being the borough commander.”
When asked who he would prefer to merge services with, he said: “Everyone says Bexley but we share problems with Lewisham. Politically we have a close allegiance with Bexley but my role is not political. It is about what works best. It maybe that the political motives are more powerful than the practical ones.
“If you ask ‘in ten years will we still have 32 local boroughs?’ the answer is ‘I don’t know’.
“There is a project within the MPS to centralise crime recording and within that there will be staff savings so at some stage there will be consultation with staff unions. No-one is safe.”
Since last September four administrative staff have left using the Early Exit scheme. Two from the CCTV department and two training administrators. And retired police officers have not been replaced since May 2006.
Other savings have included £56,000 by getting rid of phone and fax lines that are not in use and the vehicle fleet will be shrunk by 10 per cent next year.