The Met Police has officially announced its controversial shake-up, which will see officers cut to 30,000 .

The current 32 borough commands will merge into 12 larger units, Basic Command Units (BCUs), under the new plans.

The Met Police said it is facing a “significant financial challenge” and has warned officer numbers are expected to drop to 30,000 by April.

The force must make savings of £325 million by 2021/22, by which time officer numbers will have fallen even further.

The BCUs will deliver the same policing functions, with each one led by a chief superintendent.

Concerns have been raised about the safety of the new plans.

For example, there will be no response station in Kingston, with the nearest one located in Twickenham.

An anonymous serving officer from the borough said the move will have a “major impact on public safety”.

He said: “For example, a 999 call where someone is at risk – you need police there as soon as possible.

“If there’s someone in Surbiton who’s being burgled, or there’s a domestic violence incident, in rush hour traffic it could take officers too long to get there.”

But the Met Police said the plans will “save money and increase efficiency” and that more officers will be working with young people, educational establishments and care homes.

It promises to invest more resources into preventing and investigating domestic abuse, sexual offences and child abuse, while introducing “multi-agency hubs” where officers will work with child safeguarding professionals.

The force said 999 and 101 calls are on the rise, but said the new structure will see more officers responding to emergency calls across boroughs “to fit with local needs and help those people who need us the most”.

Since 2010 and by 2019, Government cuts to the police are expected to reach 22 per cent.

Deputy assistant commissioner Mark Simmons, who is leading the work, said: “Local policing is at the heart of what the Met does every day, and we will improve it further by offering a service that is more personal and responsive to the needs of Londoners.

“BCUs will allow us to put first victims of crime and those people who need us the most.

“Our new structure will also give us the resilience and consistency we need across the whole of London, so we can continue to respond to large scale incidents and meet the financial and operational challenges we are facing.”

Wandsworth Council’s community safety spokesman Jonathan Cook warned the decision risks making senior officers less accountable to the communities they serve.

He said: "Unfortunately the Mayor has not yet listened to the concerns and misgivings that many of our residents feel about this policy change.

“Instead of serving a population of around 320,000 people, our new shared commander will be responsible for managing the day-to-day policing needs of around 900,000 Londoners.

“And instead of covering a 13 square mile patch, he or she will now have to look after a geographical area that’s five times bigger, stretching to almost 66 square miles.

“This new management structure will inevitably make senior officers more distant and less accountable to the communities they serve and less able to concentrate on important local issues.

“And unlike anywhere else in the capital, our chief superintendent will also have to cover three other boroughs, each with their own needs and priorities and their own very distinct local problems.

“It is not too late for the Mayor to pause and reflect carefully on whether or not he should proceed with this change. We are today repeating our call for him to reverse this decision and abandon this plan to over-stretch our local police commander.”

Leader of Richmond Council, Cllr Paul Hodgins, said: “These savings are the Mayor’s choice, driven in part by his promise to freeze transport fares.

“He knew when he made that commitment how it would impact his overall budget. 

“We know that joining up staffing structures can work – we have demonstrated that here in Richmond with the sharing of staff with Wandsworth Council. 

“As such, I commit to working with our local police as best we can to make their reorganisation work.

“We have an excellent relationship with our local police team, and they have given us their commitment to work closely with us.

“Our residents expect a visible police presence on the streets, and we will be monitoring the situation together. However, should our crime levels increase, the Mayor will have to answer to the people of Richmond.”

However, Sadiq Khan has said he was forced to make the decision because of “huge Government cuts”.

He said: “It is a decision that has been driven by cuts from central Government to the Met’s budget, and the need to improve policing to meet the demands of London.

“But I want to reassure Londoners that the new units have been designed with their safety as the absolute priority. 

“That is why they have been tested since January 2017 and they will only be taken forward in a measured way.

“The new units will be designed for every area of London in order to meet the needs of local people and tackle local priorities, while I will continue to press the government to deliver the funding needed to keep Londoners safe.”

The roll-out across London will be staggered over the next 12 months following the decision.

The first of the boroughs to merge will be Kingston, Merton, Richmond and Wandsworth and Ealing, Hillingdon and Hounslow.

The 12 BCUs are:

  • Hammersmith and Fulham, Kensington and Chelsea, Westminster,
  • Kingston, Merton, Richmond, Wandsworth
  • Bromley, Croydon, Sutton
  • Bexley, Greenwich, Lewisham
  • Barking and Dagenham, Havering, Redbridge
  • Ealing, Hillingdon, Hounslow
  • Lambeth, Southwark
  • Enfield, Haringey
  • Hackney, Tower Hamlets
  • Camden, Islington
  • Barnet, Brent, Harrow
  • Newham, Waltham Forest