Met reverts to former model but questions raised about police numbers
Councillor Connie Hersch says the move will help police build up trust in the local area
February 2, 2023
The Metropolitan Police has announced that it is restoring the system of having an officer of Superintendent rank in charge of each London local authority area.
The overhaul of the current policing model means that, once again, an individual police officer will oversee policing in Ealing borough. Local councillors have given the change a cautious welcome but expressed scepticism that the area will see a significant rise in police numbers.
The move is part of an attempt to enhance neighbourhood policing with better, more visible relationships with communities and is part of the ‘Turnaround Plan’ published earlier this month after a series of scandals in the organisation.
Borough commanders disappeared a few years ago when the Met consolidated leadership in Basic Command Units (BCUs) which covered multiple boroughs. Ealing was combined with Hounslow and Hillingdon. It is understood this structure will remain but there will be some devolution of authority to the local level.
Neighbourhood Superintendents will be the senior point of contact for strategic partnerships like local authorities, residents and community safety partnerships. They will lead local policing teams including additional police officers recruited through the National Police Uplift Programme and more use of volunteers, including special constables.
This year the Met will recruit 500 more Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) with funds provided by the Mayor of London.
Assistant Commissioner Louisa Rolfe, said, “Our neighbourhood teams will earn trust and confidence within their local communities through developing strong links with them.
“They will work with Londoners and use their policing powers to proactively identify, investigate and solve local crimes, anti-social behaviour and local problems.
“Communities need to feel involved in determining their policing needs and to know that the Met is there to solve the problems that matter to them - and we will be.”
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said, “I’ve been very clear about the vital need to strengthen ties between the police and London’s communities – it must be the cornerstone of the Met’s efforts to keep crime down and rebuild public confidence.
“I welcome the Met’s plans to have a senior officer leading neighbourhood policing in every borough, creating better and more visible relationships with all the communities it serves.
“This is an important step forward which, combined with my proposals to fund 500 new PCSOs and invest record sums from City Hall in neighbourhood policing, will support Sir Mark Rowley’s plans to restore real neighbourhood policing in our city and help build a safer London for everyone.”
Councillor Connie Hersch, the Ealing Liberal Democrat spokesperson for Policing and Communities said, “The Liberal Democrats in Ealing welcome the efforts of the metropolitan police to re-build trust by appointing an Ealing Superintendent and also the additional Community Support Officers. Recent national police issues have shaken this trust and lowered the credibility of the police force. This positive action allows to rebuild from the base up by creating a locally identifiable police leader.
“Liberal Democrats successfully campaigned for Ealing Council to reverse its policy of light dimming. We are looking forward working closely with the new Superintendent to make our residents feel safer again.”
Councillor Gary Malcolm, Liberal Democrat Leader of the Opposition said, “The Liberal Democrats believe that although the additional PCSOs are welcomed, this will not result in a huge number for our area. We need more PCs as well to help restore community safety.”
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