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Merger of policing units 'will not affect the front line'

PUBLISHED: 10:12 03 December 2018 | UPDATED: 11:41 03 December 2018

The men will appear at crown court at the end of the month. Photo: Met Police

The men will appear at crown court at the end of the month. Photo: Met Police

Archant

A controversial merger of Bromley’s policing units with Sutton and Croydon “will not affect the front-line”, a meeting was told.

The decision to join the three police command units together comes as Scotland Yard looks to save £325m by 2021/2022.

The current 32-borough model will be condensed to 12 Basic Command Units (BCU) each comprising two or three boroughs.

Despite the police numbers dropping to just 30,000 officers this year, a Safer Bromley Partnership meeting was told the move won’t impact the borough’s front-line staff.

Superintendent Craig Knight said: “It shouldn’t affect the front-line in anyway, shape or form. The number of front-line officers remains the same.

“There is a natural up and down where people leave or get promoted, but the number will remain the same.”

The merger is set to go live in February, a date that was pushed back following delays with HR.

Each BCU will be led by a chief superintendent who will become the BCU commander.

Bromley, Croydon and Sutton officers will share buildings and resources as well as borough boundaries.

The new system has come under fire by critics who claim it will overuse the already stretched resources of police – especially in a borough as big as Bromley.

Supt Knight reiterated that Bromley will still have three dedicated response units once the change happens.

He said: “We made the very conscious decision to keep retain three response units.

“A lot of BCUs across London have gone down to one response site where everybody operates from. Where we have seen that happen there has been a dip.

“We made the decision to retain three sites, that may change in the future but I very much doubt that will happen.”

Emergency teams respond to 999 calls, and are different to normal neighbourhood policing patrol teams.

Bromley and Chislehurst MP Bob Neill and Carshalton and Wallington MP Tom Brake both issued objections to the merging of the police commands – and the Bromley Lib Dems launched a petition against the decision.

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