Havering Police lose 224 shifts a month as city calls

A pupil was stabbed in the leg last Thursday

A pupil was stabbed in the leg last Thursday - Credit: PA WIRE

Havering Police are losing more than 200 officer shifts a month as they are taken off their usual beat to work on public order operations across the capital.

In the first nine months of 2015, the latest period for which data is available, the borough lost an average of 224 shifts each month as officers were drafted elsewhere.

In the same period, Redbridge Police lost 288 officer shifts per month, while Barking and Dagenham lost 244 and Newham 336.

Across all 32 London boroughs an average of 273 officer shifts were taken off their beat each month, with the drafted officers providing security for parades, football matches and other high profile events across London.

Sgt Ken McNish, of the Cranham Safer Neighbourhood Team, believes that the number of Havering officers being taken off their usual beat is decreasing.

He said: “No one wants to be taken off the beat, and fortunately, for some unknown reason, that seems to be happening less and less.

“We’re doing well with keeping our officers on the streets.”

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However, London Assembly member Tom Copley argued the policy undermined the principle of neighbourhood policing.

He said: “Londoners want neighbourhood police to be visible in their communities, not pulled off the beat to plug gaps in other parts of London.”

Statistics show that Havering Police also lost an average of 244 officer shifts a month in 2012, 233 in 2013 and 207 in 2014.

Commander BJ Harrington of the Met’s Specialist Crime and Operations branch argued that abstraction was the most cost effective way of policing the capital.

He said: “By using police drawn largely from across London’s boroughs we do not need to hold a large reserve of officers waiting for operations to happen.

“It is inaccurate to say that they are ‘plugging gaps’; they are supporting local boroughs and neighbourhoods with a specific policing response.”