Jan 15 2013 by Ian Proctor, Harrow Observer
MORE officers will protect the public and fight crime under the Met Police's plans - even if the number of police stations with counters are slashed.
Harrow's contingent would rise from 355, based on October 2011 figures, to 385 by 2015 while Brent's roster will grow in the same period albeit only by two to 660.
However, the force is proposing to close both the volunteer-run counter at Pinner Police Station in Waxwell Lane, Pinner, and the daytime-only counter at Harrow Civic Centre in Station Road - itself created due to the closure of the counter at Harrow Police Station in Northolt Road, South Harrow.
This leaves just Harrow Central Police Station at Kirkland House in Peterborough Road, Harrow, as 24-hour counter.
In Brent, the Met Police proposes to keep Wembley Police Station in Harrow Road, Wembley, which would continue to operate a counter 24 hours a day, and Kilburn Police Station in Salusbury Road, Kilburn, whose opening times would be reduced from 24 hours a day to just daytime hours.
The counters at Harlesden Police Station in Craven Park, Harlesden, and Willesden Police Station in High Road, Willesden Green, would be shut, possibly along the whole buildings.
Navin Shah, the Labour London Assembly Member for Brent and Harrow, said: "This plan confirms our worst fears.
"It is an act of vandalism to close police stations in local areas. It is vital that residents have access to local police stations, so I’m not surprised that local community members strongly oppose the closure of their police stations."
Chief Superintendent Babu, Harrow's borough commander, told a public consultation meeting on the changes on Thursday: "I genuinely see this as a real positive because we're actually getting more resources.
"And despite reducing our budget over the last three years, we have reduced crime."
The Met Police promises to replace counters with ones in shared locations much more heavily frequented by the public.
Mr Babu said: "A local vicar, he's going to provide us with an office and space in his church, and we're quiet keen to explore that.
"We have had offers from temples and we had discussions with the local mosque, with schools and with libaries."
The model of Safer Neighbourhood Teams (SNT) comprising one sergeant, two PCs and three PCSOs - although many teams are nowhere near this strength at the moment due to the non-replacement of staff - will be replaced with a shared sergeant and one PC and one PCSO.
The rest of the SNT officers will be pooled so that senior officers can allocate them on an ad-hoc basis to whichever ward requires them.
Harrow's deputy borough commander, Borough Commander Detective Superintendent Neil Wilson, said: "The focus on deployment for our beat officers is going to be three hubs - Harrow Police Station, Pinner Police Station and Kirkland House.
"All these 385 officers will be used on a ward in Harrow somewhere. For each SNT there is a dedicated PC and a dedicated PCSO who will spend 95 per cent of their time on the ward."
He said officers may pilot the use of head- or body-mounted cameras to help gather better evidence of anti-social behaviour.
-20% - incidents of 7 neighbourhood crimes within 4 years
-20% - number of court delays
-20% - instances of youth reoffending
-20% - savings needed due to corresponding cut in Home Office grant
+20% - rise in public confidence in the Met
+20% - compliance with community sentences