Sutton police facing pressures from other boroughs borrowing officers
The borough's top cop has admitted that Sutton is facing increasing demands from other borough's for its officers.
Changes made by London mayor Boris Johnson to the capital's policing model last year made it easier for police officers to be moved away from their regular beats to provide cover for major events and incidents elsewhere in the capital.
Although this has always been possible, Detective Chief Superintendent Guy Ferguson, Sutton's Borough Commander, told the Sutton Community Police Forum he has been "grappling with unprecedented demand" from other boroughs in recent months.
Despite the pressure, crime in Sutton did fall last year and the borough continues to be one of the safest in London.
Speaking at a meeting on Thursday, Det Ch Supt Ferguson said: "One thing we've grappled with is an unprecedented demand for aid in central London and at other events.
"The pressure on us in the last few months has been difficult compared to what we would like it to be.
"The aspiration is still to staff our wards as well as we can but that has been challenging and that is across the board.
"Overall we're doing OK in terms of reductions year-on-year. If we get more than we expect on any ward then we do move people across but that's just making the best use of the resources that we have."
The model by which London is policed was revised by the Mayor's Office for Police and Crime (MOPAC) last year resulting in a net increase in officers dedicated to Sutton but with greater flexibility in how they are allocated as well as the closure of a police point in Wallington.
Crime was down last year compared to 2012 in every month except January when a spike in numbers of thefts caused an increase. In December 2013 there were 167 fewer crimes than in December the previous year. There were 40 fewer burglaries, a crime commonly associated with the festive period.
One of Sutton's biggest crime problems is organised gangs of burglars coming in from other areas of the capital to carry out crime, according to Det Ch Supt Ferguson. He said: "If you compare the number of burglaries we have with other boroughs, the numbers are tiny.
"We have two burglaries a day, on average, but there are spikes. Where other boroughs have problems with chaotic drug addicts who commit burglaries, we tend to get more professional teams that come across and are more difficult. But we are alert to this and respond to it with great vigour."
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