BROMLEY’S police chief says PCSOs and safer neighbourhood teams should avoid the axe when budget cuts are made.

The Met police is bracing itself for cuts to its budget after the government completes its comprehensive spending review next Wednesday (October 20).

PCSOs and safer neighbourhood teams have been tipped for cutbacks, but Bromley’s borough commander Chief Superintendent Charles Griggs says they “would leave a void”.

Mr Griggs said: “The budget is being looked at centrally and at the moment the Met is still waiting to see what the government cuts are going to look like.

“I have no doubt there will be the need to make significant cuts, and 78 per cent of the Met’s budget is people, so the reality is we will have to lose people.

“I think safer neighbourhood teams are the number one success story for the Met police, and certainly for Bromley.

“For Bromley, PCSOs finally meant an increase in resources. I have 160 PCSOs patrolling the streets, which I would not have had five years ago, and that’s made a real difference.

“For example, before the Darwin ward felt neglected, but now they have a dedicated police team there dealing with problems every day. We struggled to provide that on the street presence before.

“They have limited powers, but the fact they know their community makes a difference, because they know the troublemakers and villains.

“If a burglar is released from prison, they go round and knock on their door and let them know they’re being watched.”

He added: “The number of things should not be decided centrally by the Met. I should be able to make a judgment on the staff levels of these teams.”