POLICE officers, councillors and other civic leaders came together for the launch of the Mayor of London’s Local Policing Model (LPM).
The LPM will be adopted by all London boroughs by October. Hillingdon is one of the first to take on the new framework, and was the only borough to hold a public event to mark the launch on Monday.
At an open meeting headed by police borough commander Steve Kershaw at the Civic Centre, people heard how LPM will affect their neighbourhood.
Mr Kershaw, who marked his first year in the borough on Sunday, said: “From today, our police officers are back in your wards.
“We are taking on the LPM with less officers than the model says we should have, but we did not want to delay taking it on any further. We will be raising our game, we will be back on your streets.”
An additional 2,000 officers are to be allocated to Safer Neighbourhoods Teams (SNTs) across London. Hillingdon has been promised more officers by 2015.
Under LPM, each ward will keep its police officers and PCSOs in the now familiar SNTs, but these teams will be grouped into clusters of wards, under the leadership of an inspector.
Harefield police office, Northwood police front desk and all the SNT offices have closed as part of Boris Johnson’s plans to save £500million over the next three years by reducing the number of buildings in the Met’s estate.
As a result, of the 15 bases there used to be for police in the borough only four remain – The Oaks, Ruislip; Warwick Place, Uxbridge; Uxbridge Road, Hayes End; and Polar Park, Harmondsworth.
Officers will have to cycle, use public transport or be dropped off by minibus in order to patrol their wards.
Ward councillor Richard Barnes expressed the worries of people in Harefield, who feel they will lose out by not having a local police office.
“We have had a very successful community team. They are now based in Ruislip and will have to travel to Harefield, which is the most cut-off area in the borough with regard to public transport,” he said.
Barnhill ward councillor John Major spoke for people living in Hayes, who are equally worried about the closure of the SNT office in Barnhill.
“This is the most contentious issue I have ever known of in my time as ward councillor. There are some very angry people.
“If this has been done to make a saving, that will be offset by the travelling time to get from the police station to the high street.”
Rob Wilson, chief inspector of partnerships at Hillingdon police, said: “This is all about increasing visibility and confidence in the police.
“We will work as a team over the coming months and years to make Hillingdon safer.”