Prospective Conservative Candidate for Mayor of Lewisham, Ross Archer, has called on the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan not to follow through on plans to have Lewisham share a police Borough Commander with another borough.
The Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC), along with Scotland Yard, are currently proposing to abolish the role of Borough Commander and replace them with a new Regional role overseeing multiple boroughs. MOPAC believes this will give commanders greater flexibility of resources; however, critics such as Archer and Lewisham Conservatives are concerned this could lead to policing losing its connections to the individual boroughs.
The idea was previously floated under former Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, but was later dropped following strong opposition from communities and local politicians. The proposals have re-emerged with trials which have seen Islington and Camden merged and Barking and Dagenham merged with Redbridge and Havering.
Ross Archer, a Sydenham resident, said: "While I strongly believe that Lewisham is a wonderful place to live, unfortunately Lewisham continues to rated one of London's 'most dangerous boroughs'. We need to be doing all we can to reverse this, but to achieve this we need dedicated policing with a Borough Commander equipped to manage operations in our borough. My concern is that if our Commander has a Regional area instead of a borough we will lose focus."
"You can't tackle crime from behind a desk, you don't make our streets safer from an office, you do this in the community. But you have to know and understand those communities. My fear is that the proposed model puts that at risk."
Lewisham Conservatives have also criticised the silence of the London Assembly Member for Lewisham. The Labour politician is a member of the London Assemblies Police and Crime Committee and is a former Chairman of the Metropolitan Police Authority, the predecessor of the Mayor’s Office of Policing and Crime yet has said nothing publicly on the proposals.
Chairman of Lewisham Deptford Conservatives James Clark added "If MOPAC are serious about fighting crime in Lewisham, the least they can do is provide evidence that dispensing with the Borough commander is a good idea. Otherwise this just seems like moving resources around without addressing underlying issues."
"The Police do an excellent job in Lewisham. Let's not starve them of the Borough Commander, an additional asset in fighting crime and doing their job."