Efficiency fears for understaffed police in Streatham
Neighbourhood policing teams are understaffed across Streatham, West Norwood and Gipsy Hill, provoking fears crimes cannot be tackled as effectively and public confidence could be lost.
None of six safer neighbourhoods teams, contacted by the Streatham Guardian last week, reported having a full quota of one sergeant, two PCs and three PCSOs.
Three teams had PCs acting as sergeants and none had three PCSOs ahead of a shake-up of local policing next year.
Richard Moore, chairman of the Thurlow Park safer neighbourhood panel, said existing officers were also being taken away from his area.
He said: “The problem is they are all being lifted off to do other jobs in the borough. They are not working full-time on the ward.
“If you ain’t got the cops you can’t investigate the offences. It is as simple as that.”
Last week the Streatham Guardian revealed police numbers had fallen by 20 per cent over the past two-and-a-half years across Lambeth, with nearly 200 officers leaving the borough.
David Green, chairman of the Gipsy Hill safer neighbourhood panel, said: “The whole point of the safer neighbourhood team was visibility and that is being taken away from us.
“It is something we are strongly concerned about. There is less personal confidence for people to go out and leave their property.”
But Helen Smith, deputy chairman of the Streatham South safer neighbourhood panel, was more positive saying they appeared to be where they should be in terms of numbers.
Ms Smith said: “I have to say I think they manage it very well.
“I think our teams are fantastic and do a really good job in the face of quite difficult circumstances.”
The shake-up of neighbourhood policing is expected to take place next year as the Metropolitan Police Service seeks to save £500m by 2015.
A spokesman for Lambeth police said: “Our priority is always to the public of Lambeth.
“We remain committed to listening and driving down crime in our borough through making the best use of our resources.
"All 21 of our safer neighbourhood teams are up to full strength in police constables although some teams have constables acting as police sergeants.
“Lambeth SNTs are set to receive over 30 PCSOs in November that will ensure all our SNTs are back to full strength.”
•Thurlow Park: One sergeant, two PCs
• Streatham Hill: One sergeant, two PCs, two PCSOs
• Streatham South: One PC acting as sergeant, one PC, two PCSOs
• St Leonard’s: One PC acting as sergeant, one PC, two PCSOs
• Knight’s Hill: One sergeant, two PCs, two PCSOs
• Gipsy Hill: One PC acting as sergeant, one PC, one PCSO