The proposal to merge the police borough commanders for Harrow, Brent and Barnet was raised by Navin Shah last year, and again in last week’s Harrow Times by Gareth Thomas MP. For a change, I agree with them both to an extent – as we’re talking about three large boroughs with very different crime rates, and I personally like the idea of the police retaining a local link.
However, as was the case when this idea was originally floated back in 2012, it is just a proposal. Gareth Thomas refers to it as the ‘thin end of the wedge’ with no justification, and just as last time the proposal could again be rejected by the Mayor of London. And let’s not forget that towards the end of last year local Labour politicians wrote in this paper for weeks, fear-mongering about cuts to police in the Autumn Statement which never materialised. In fact, only Labour’s shadow Home Secretary proposed a formal cut to police budgets at the time.
And this is important because if Messrs Shah and Thomas are really concerned about either the borough commander merger or cuts to the police, perhaps they’d like to condemn Harrow’s Labour-run Council? Their cuts mean at the end of this month the Council will stop funding a team of four Harrow-dedicated police officers; and the response to this cut in front-line policing from Harrow’s Labour representatives in Parliament and at the London Assembly has been total silence. Residents therefore have every right to wonder if their latest protestations are more about the politics than keeping Harrow safe.
Cllr. Susan Hall
Leader of the Conservative Group