Labour has welcomed news that local policing arrangements and the performance of the Metropolitan Police’s new standalone contact points are to be reviewed.
Last year the force reorganised local Safer Neighbourhood Teams, reducing the number of officers assigned to each ward from one Sergeant, two PCs and three PCSOs to just one dedicated PC and PCSO.
The SNT’s are permanently based in their wards, allowing them to build relations with local residents and traders and gain the community’s confidence.
Changes to their composition have been been blamed for the Met scoring the third lowest visibility rate in the country.
Appearing before the London Assembly’s police and crime committee on Thursday, Met Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe said the balance of the teams had “gone the wrong way” and is being reviewed.
He suggested that some wards could see officer numbers boosted but told Assembly Members that any additional officers would have to come from existing borough allocations.
Mayor Boris Johnson, who also attended the meeting, conceded that some aspects of the new local policing model needed to “be improved”.
Joanne McCartney, Labour’s policing spokesperson on the London Assembly, said: “I have long been calling for the Mayor to come clean and admit that his cuts to neighbourhood police teams have resulted in less visible police in our local communities.
“While this admission is welcome, we now need to get on and put a plan in place to reinstate dedicated officers to our neighbourhoods.”
Ms McCartney also welcomed a commitment from Stephen Greenhalgh, deputy mayor for policing and crime, that the performance of police contact points would be reviewed after recently published figures revealed they’re serving an average of just 1.3 people per week.
The Met introduced the contact points to ensure members of the public could still report crimes and get help following the closure of dozens of police stations.
In addition to the contact points, the Met offers all victims and witnesses of crime the option of a home visit and the force says more than 200,000 visits have been requested to date.