Hackney’s police force is set to merge with neighbouring Tower Hamlets as part of a £325 million savings drive by the Metropolitan Police.
The Met is creating 12 Basic Command Units (BCUs) to replace the current 32-borough system, with the new units sharing people, buildings and resources across local authority borders.
It comes after Hackney Council’s ‘Foot the Bill‘ campaign, calling on the Home Office to reverse cuts to the Met, which the council says have cost Hackney one in four police officers since 2010.
The council has been approached for comment on the merger.
The BCU model has been tried in two pilot schemes last year – one merging Barking & Dagenham, Redbridge and Havering, and another between Camden and Islington.
The Hackney-Tower Hamlets BCU will be led by a chief superintendent as BCU Commander, and is expected to be set up in the next 12 months.
The Met said in a statement that it faces £325 million of savings by 2021/22, with the number of police officers falling to 30,000 this April.
The statement adds: “We need to plan for a future with less, and become more resilient so we can continue to meet our financial and operational challenges, and our current and future policing challenges – terrorism and safeguarding in particular.
“Without significant changes in how we manage our resources we would be unable to meet these head on.”
Deputy Assistant Commissioner Mark Simmons, the Met’s lead on the BCUs, said: “Local policing is at the heart of what the Met does every day, and we will improve it further by offering a service that is more personal and responsive to the needs of Londoners.
“BCUs will allow us to put first victims of crime and those people who need us the most.”
He added: “Our new structure will also give us the resilience and consistency we need across the whole of London, so we can continue to respond to large scale incidents and meet the financial and operational challenges we are facing.”
Tower Hamlets has a slightly higher crime rate than Hackney, with 30,947 offences in 2016/17 to Hackney’s 30,446, though this might reflect Tower Hamlets having a larger population./ 12 February, 2018