Presentation given by Detective Chief Superintendent Catherine Roper, on the merger of Camden and Islington Borough Command Units (BCU), on Thursday 26 January, 7.00 pm, in the Council Chamber, Camden Town Hall.
The aim was to reduce the number of BCUs across the Met. In July the Deputy Mayor had requested for Camden and Islington to be considered as one of the ‘pathfinder’ mergers. The Borough Commanders for both boroughs had been asked to discuss the possibility of a merger with their respective local authorities. By September there had been agreement from both local authorities. The announcement of the merger was made in October. CR was appointed Borough Commander for the merged BCU in November. CR apologised that she was the third Camden Borough Commander in 18 months.
- There was a programme board responsible for the merger oversight consisting of CR, members of her senior leadership team and senior officers and lead members from both local authorities.
- That the merger needed to be reversible.
- The merger was not a top-slicing cost-cutting exercise. There was recognition that 32 BCUs did things in 32 different ways.
- There would be efficiencies such as improved cross-border working.
- Fewer BCUs would lead to more consistent policies and procedures.
QUESTIONS FROM THE PUBLIC
CR was asked to define the success criteria and how it would be measured? CR explained that the success criteria had not been agreed but would be decided by the programme board. But there were several essential criteria with regard to timeframes and performance, these would include:
- Postings of Dedicated Ward Officers (DWOs)
- Bringing back investigations to Response Teams
- The sanctioned detection rate
- Number of Stop and Searches
- Number of warrants
- Number of weapon sweeps
- Number of patrols
- Response times for ‘I’ grade and ‘S’ grades
- Performance against the MOPAC7 set by the previous Mayor
Aileen Hammond asked how many police officers were there in Camden and Islington before the merger and how many would there be after? CR said the guarantee from the Met for the two pathfinders was there would be no reduction in personnel until July 2017. The total establishment for both BCUs was 1213.4, with just under 600 in Islington and the rest in Camden.
CR was asked about the support communities would receive to deal with local issues. CR said that there had been an increase in the number of DWOs. Every ward had a minimum of two DWOs. Some of the more challenging wards had a higher number.
DWOs would be dedicated to their wards and could not be abstracted for any reason other than New Year’s Eve and Notting Hill Carnival.
Members of the public felt it was important that there was a reduction in churn and DWOs should invest significant time in their wards.
CR Agreed to provide the CSNB with a comprehensive list of DWOs.
NEW BCU STRUCTURE
It was a requirement of the Deputy Mayor there would be a single person responsible for the whole policing area.
There would be four Superintendents responsible across the two boroughs for:
- Response Team: There would be a change in how the Response Team works. There would be more officers allocated to the Response Teams and they would be expected to take on investigating incidents and supporting victims. The aim would be to have more continuity for victims. Response Teams will continue to operate from their current locations.
- Investigations: These officers will be responsible for the more complex crimes.
- Protecting Vulnerable People: These officers will be responsible for safeguarding. They would take over domestic assaults and sexual crime that had been investigated by the Sapphire team. The team would include three Detective Inspectors formally with Sapphire. By 27 March all safeguarding resources would be handed over.
- Neighbourhood Policing: There will be an Inspector responsible for the Safer Neighbourhood Teams. A dedicated Youth Engagement Inspector would be responsible for a number of Youth Engagement Officers and Schools Officers.
There would be a dedicated team of officers headed by a Chief Inspector who would be responsible for Licensing and the night-time economy.
CR was asked if there had been any plans to merge the two Safer Neighbourhood Boards. CR said no plans in place and she expected them to operate to continue to operate independently. CR said should was committed to attending CSNB meetings. In the event she could not attend CR would send a deputy.
There were concerns about the reductions in ward officer numbers. CR explained the DWOs would solely be dedicated to their wards and would not be taken away for other duties.
Poor communications from the police and residents was raised in relation to recent series of burglaries.
Residents who lived on the boarders of the new BCU raised were worried the service they receive would reduce. The rumoured loss of the dedicated Kilburn High Road team had added to concerns. CR agreed to look into the position of the Kilburn High Road team and report back.
Terrorism would come under the Neighbourhood Policing strand. There was a request for continued support from CR regarding meetings of the Jewish community. Leon Ellenport said there was constant cooperation between the Met Police and the Community Security Trust particularly during high holy days.
There would be no reductions in the number of sergeants. Where sergeants sit within the structure had not been decided.
Islington had been given as a good example of how the Late Night Levy (LNL) had been used to fund private patrols. CR said the patrols in Islington had been ‘absolutely fantastic’. The patrols were deployed to specific areas of need and they undertook joint patrols with the police. Islington had a higher number of venues than Camden open after midnight and the LNL raised £500,000 compared to £350,000 in Camden. Some of the Camden LNL had been used to fund additional street cleansing.
Miles Seaman highlighted the differences in performance in both boroughs and asked if resources would follow demand. CR said a Detective Chief Inspector would be looking at consistency.
Chris Fagg asked if there would be a reduction in policing the Camden Town NTE if the Council stopped funding the additional officers. CR said the officers were funded and she was too early in post to know the future plans. All Town Centre teams were additions and if funding stopped the police would continue to patrol those areas.
CR was asked about officers using mobile technologies. CR said over the next six months officers would be an increase in mobile technology.
Asked about the use of drones, CR said the Met drone strategy was being run by Territorial Policing. CAA rules and regulations made using drones difficult. The Met did not use drones but CR felt Camden and Islington have crime hotspots that would be suitable to undertake trials. Safety risks, human rights and privacy made using drones difficult.