Sutton South Ward is a low crime area, but we have felt a need to express concern about the resources available to the local police. This was after the meeting of the consultative panel for our Ward arranged for Wednesday 14 March was called off due a shortage of available police personnel.  

We both sit on the panel, which is a vehicle for consultation with the community about police priorities and is also a mechanism for the community to help the police. More information about the panel is available on the page on “Sutton Police”.

The text of our letter to Sutton’s senior police officers was as follows:

“To Superintendant Phil Willis, Head of SPSS
    Chief Inspector Alan Chambers
Dear Colleagues
The scheduled police consultative panel meeting that was due to take place tonight in Sutton South Ward of the London Borough of Sutton has been postponed by the police.
Councillor Heather Honour and I, the two Liberal Democrat Councillors for the Ward, are concerned at this cancellation, which appears to be due to problems related to police resources. I am writing to you to express our concern and to seek re-assurance that there are not going to be longer term problems with the policing of our Ward.
The Sutton South Ward Safer Neighbourhoods policing team used to have its own sergeant. Last year that was taken away from us, when the long-serving Dave Williams retired, and a single segeant was appointed to cover both Belmont and Sutton South. We did not protest at this, since analysis we regularly carry out of crime trends in Sutton South compared to the rest of the Borough show it is a low crime area, and Belmont Ward has similarly low figures. Sergeant Brendan Mcwilliams was appointed.
Since then there has been a continuous pattern of change. Sergeant McWilliams is now leaving us and we find that the resources of the team are almost continuously depleted by training and by officers being deployed away from the area to help with operations elsewhere. This depletion is the reason we have been given as to why it is not possible to hold the scheduled meeting of the panel thisevening.
We fully appreciate that there are times when local resources have to be offered up to assist in wider policing exercises, and recognise that as the Olympics approach this may happen more often. However, we would be concerned if our area was left with so little cover that normal policing tasks for the community were put at risk, and if this were to impact on crime levels.
We would welcome your reaction to these concerns and trust you can put our minds at rest.
Best wishes.
Richard Clifton
   Councillor for Sutton South Ward”

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