Civilian staff employed by the Met Police are facing an uncertain New Year after a leaked email revealed they could be out of work by April.

The Met is proposing to reconsider the role of station reception officers (SROs) and replace them on the front desk with Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs).

Staff at Chiswick police station in the High Road are unhappy and the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) have released a statement blasting the Met for "taking the eyes and ears off the street in their agenda to police London as cheaply as they can".

One SRO at Chiswick who wanted to remain anonymous said: "It's scandalous to leave us guessing about our jobs, especially at this time of year.

"We are either expected to do a harder job for the same money or move aside."

However, Superintendent Clive Chalk of Hounslow police insists the concept is at a very early stage.

He said: "The Met is exploring the role of the SRO and looking to expand what they do. It gives them the chance work in other areas."

He also emphasised that the PCSOs working in front offices will be well trained.

Reception officers are the first people that members of the public see when they enter a police station.

They also gather evidence which could be presented in court and are trained in dealing with vulnerable witnesses and victims of crime.

Their role mirrors that of police officers but they cannot make arrests.

The proposals would see SROs replaced by PCSOs, whose main purpose currently is to patrol the community and provide a reassuring presence and back up for police officers.

The decision was taken after the Greater London Authority agreed to give the Met 4,000 PCSOs to patrol the streets of London.

Paul Edwards, PCSO local representative, said: "We fear our jobs going will result in a real reduction in the face to face service local people get from the police.

"Coupled with this are plans to reduce every borough's 24-hour police stations which means that people in London are paying more but getting less policing for their money."