A crime fighting partnership thought to save taxpayers more than £50m a year could be broken up to save £230,000.

In November last year, the head of Safer Merton (SM) – a crime reduction partnership between Merton’s council, police force and other agencies – said it had saved taxpayers £52.5m in 12 months.

Despite this, Merton Council denies the existence of any data about how much the team’s work is worth and wants to cut its funding.

SM was set up to reduce crime by tackling drug addiction, young offenders and antisocial behaviour through linking partner agencies – including health trusts and probation services – and sharing data and strategic planning.

Statistics show individuals helped through SM’s projects and programmes were less likely to trigger expensive police action, court appearances and jail terms.

But the council, which said it needed to make £44m of cuts in the next three years, is considering cuts of about £230,000 to the team’s budget for two years from April. A Home Office safer communities grant of £150,000 to the team will also be phased out over the next two years.

SM head Annalise Elliot said: “I made it clear last year – there is no room for efficiency savings. There isn’t anywhere to go but to break the team.”

A council report said it had already been reduced from 78 to 23 members in the past four years.

SM is also responsible for the borough’s CCTV network. The council’s leader, Councillor Stephen Alambritis, has said he was not likely to cut this element of the department.

The council currently gives the partnership about £900,000 a year, but it attracts millions from other agencies and sources – something Ms Elliot said could not happen if the cuts went ahead.

Councillors from all parties were united in questioning the cut.

Conservative councillor Diane Neil-Mills said: “This is something residents expect us to do... [The cut] seems to be a false economy.”

Councillor Peter Southgate, leader of the Merton Park Independents, said he had “great concerns” about the idea.

Coun Alambritis said: “We have to do our best by our residents at a time when we have to make difficult decisions about where to make savings.”

He acknowledged the partnership benefits the borough financially in the long-term, but claimed “we cannot know precisely the amount Safer Merton saves Merton”.

Chief Superintendent Dick Wolfenden, Merton police borough commander, said: “[Safer Merton] is a key part of our long term approach to reducing crime in the borough.”