Hundreds of Newham police shifts diverted to other boroughs in capital
PUBLISHED: 07:00 07 March 2016
More than 300 police officer shifts are being taken away from the borough every month to be sent to other parts of the capital, data released by the Mayor of London has confirmed.
Newham MPS had 3,025 officer shifts diverted to other boroughs between January and September last year in a police policy known as “abstraction”, with an average of 336 being lost every month.
They were taken from their beats to support other boroughs during events like the general election, state opening of Parliament, May Day, birth of Prince William’s second child and the Notting Hill Carnival.
The number of officer shifts being deployed away from Newham was the fifth-highest in the capital, with nearby Redbridge losing 288 shifts a month, Barking and Dagenham 244 and Havering 224.
But commander BJ Harrington of Specialist Crime and Operations said the technique was necessary to effectively police the city.
“Over 3,500 public order events take place across London’s 32 boroughs each year including demonstrations and protests, football matches and ceremonial events,” he said. “One of our core roles is to effectively deal with any crime and disorder issues associated with such events, by providing a professional, consistent and balanced policing response.
“Our officers provide an essential policing response in the most efficient way possible – by using police drawn largely from across London’s boroughs we do not need to hold a large reserve of officers waiting for operations to happen.”
He added that the policy ensure officers “understand” the areas they police, an approach that is “admired around the world”.
“It is inaccurate to say that they are ‘plugging gaps’,” he said of the diverted officers. “They are supporting local boroughs and neighbourhoods with a specific policing response.”
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