Councillors have called for a community police base to be reopened to tackle crime and anti-social behaviour.

The West Hendon safer neighbourhood team (SNT) hub in Vivian Avenue, West Hendon, was closed last year due to Metropolitan Police cutbacks.

It came as part of a string of closures approved by Mayor of London Sadiq Khan to save £10 million and keep overall police numbers above 30,000.

The SNT team still exists and now operates out of a nearby police station in Colindale.

But at a meeting of Barnet’s full council on Tuesday (January 28), Conservative councillors called on Mr Khan to reopen the Vivian Avenue base.

Cllr Helene Richman (Conservative, West Hendon) told the meeting her ward was seeing a rise in crime.

She said: “Burglaries are up, assaults and other anti-social behaviour are up, drug dealers and street drinkers are up, crime is up.

“The SNT closed in the summer and the effects are keenly felt. Local residents live with anxiety for their safety, and shopkeepers see their livelihoods challenged by anti-social, aggressive behaviour.

“Without police officers working out of a station in the locality, it cannot be stopped. We are living in dangerous times, and we need our local station.”

Cllr Richman said the former SNT office could be reopened “in a flash”, or an alternative building close by could host the police officers at no cost to the Met.

She called on Mr Khan to spend less on public relations and more on policing.

But Labour councillors blamed funding cuts from central government for the decision to close the SNT hubs.

Cllr Sara Conway (Labour, Burnt Oak), said cutbacks by the Tory government since 2010 had “undermined community safety and wellbeing”.

She said: “Let’s stop playing politics on an issue that matters so much to our residents – second in the 2017 residents’ survey.

“Instead, why don’t we look at how we can improve things locally, together?”

Cllr Conway came up with a list of suggestions to improve collaboration between the council and police, as well as cooperation between boroughs, that could help improve community safety.

She also pointed out the Mayor of London’s PR budget is sometimes spent on tackling knife crime and similar problems.

Cllr Gabriel Rozenberg (Liberal Democrat, Garden Suburb) acknowledged crime in the borough “is in a serious state”.

But he added: “We also need to be realistic. Police numbers, something that voters understand and respond to, is not necessarily the blockage in the system.

“That is to do with cuts to legal aid, cuts to the judicial process. It is nearly impossible for police to bring prosecutions, so there is no ability for police to enforce.”

Cllr Rozenberg said cuts “across the board” meant youngsters had less to do in the evenings, and the problems needed to be looked at “as a whole”.

When it was put to a vote, Labour’s amendment to Cllr Richman’s motion was defeated by Tory councillors.

The original motion was then passed, with Conservative councillors in favour and Labour and the Lib Dems voting against.