Community leaders faced some tough questions from the public at Sutton's first Question Time debate.

In the first of what is hoped to be a fixture on the official calendar, a panel of the boroughs most important figures assembled at the Charles Cryer Theatre last night.

Residents aired their views on the borough's hot topics such as the incinerator, the high street and crime.

Sutton police's borough commander Guy Ferguson attempted to reassure the public that despite the Metropolitan Police's budget being cut by £500m, he was committed to improving frontline policing.

Mr Ferguson, said: "We are never complacent but we are committed to driving down crime further and continuing to build on the high level of confidence and satisfaction in policing in this borough. People tell us that they are generally happy with what we are doing."

The subject of domestic violence came from the floor, and Mr Ferguson told the audience how police are tackling the issue.

He said: "Domestic violence accounts for upwards of 40 per cent of our violent crime in the borough. It is one of the highest priorities we have in Sutton and within the MPS more generally."

One of the ways police in Sutton were encouraging victims to report domestic violence and to support victims was through a confidential drop-in service called The One Stop Shop which is open at Sutton Baptist Church, on Wednesdays between 9.30am - 11.30am.

Ruth Dombey, leader of Sutton Council addressed residents on the need for youth clubs and also the importance of a good education system.

Chief executive of Sutton Council Niall Bolger talked candidly about the need for investment in education and spoke about the expansion of secondary schools in the borough.

Other panellists included Susanna Bennett, chief executive of the Sutton Centre for the Voluntary Sector and councillor Colin Hall, deputy leader of Sutton Council.