Mayor's officer pledge branded "election bluster"
Boris Johnson’s pledge to increase safer neighbourhood officers in Merton has been labelled "election bluster of the worst kind".
On Monday, the Mayor of London promised, if re-elected, to add three extra police officers to every safer neighbourhood team (SNT) in Merton.
He also promised to add three special constables to SNTs, totalling 60 extra officers in Merton and nearly 2000 more police across London.
Mr Johnson said: "I will work with the [Met police] Commissioner to significantly increase their capacity, expanding them by up to three further full-time officers.
"This extra capacity, along with the safer neighbourhood Board, means the teams can focus more on preventing crime while also critically giving residents a greater say over policing in Merton."
Safer Neighbourhood Boards are part of the mayor’s plan to give residents more of a say in setting policy priorities.
But, last month, a survey by a Merton councillor revealed SNT officer numbers in Merton had fallen and were under-strength by a third, with only two of the borough's 20 safer neighbourhood teams deemed to be at full strength with a total of 44 posts out of 120 vacant.
Jeff Hanna, a Labour councillor for Pollards Hill ward in Mitcham, said the Mayor was "playing with existing numbers".
Coun Hanna said: "The 2,000 extra officers Boris claims he will put into London's Safer Neighbourhood Teams are not new posts.
“They are being moved from so called ‘backroom’ posts.
“It is simply not credible that, having been in charge for the past four years, Boris has suddenly found 2,000 officers sitting around doing nothing who he can now allocate to SNTs.
“This is election bluster of the worst kind, and we will not see a single extra police officer in London under Boris."