Earlier this evening I spoke at a meeting of Tottenham Labour Party – well-attended and lively as ever. I had been invited several months ago to talk about policing – little expecting that by the time the date came round the Commissioner would have resigned. And, yes, there was considerable interest in the turbulent events of the last few weeks, but as I answered questions attention shifted to the challenges facing the Metropolitan Police over the next year or so and, in particular, what was going to be the local impact of the budget restrictions.
There was real fear about what would be the impact of the decision to cut by 50% the number of sergeants in Safer Neighbourhood Teams. There seemed to be unanimity about the value of local Safer Neighbourhood Teams and the beneficial effect they had had in Tottenham and widespread concern that Teams in some very pressured areas would have to share a sergeant, both diminishing the resource available but also seriously undermining the problem-solving capacity of the Teams.
A salutory reminder that when the Metropolitan Police Authority meets tomorrow what will really matter is making sure that London is still policed effectively and appropriately.