Greenwich, Bexley and Lewisham Police commands are being merged into one in a new model being introduced by Scotland Yard.

Met Police said they must make these changes as they face a “significant financial challenge”, being forced to cut £325m by 2021/22, with officer numbers to fall to 30,000 by April and continue falling until 2021.

The new Basic Command Units (BCUs) will replace the Met’s current 32 borough model by reducing that number down to 12.

According to the Met Police, the current model limited its flexibility to meet new policing demands due to how each individual borough varied in size and resource requirements.

Resources will now be shared across the three boroughs in the new Greenwich, Bexley and Lewisham BCU, with one superintendent in charge of the whole area.

Police stations across the three boroughs have been shut in the past year in cost-cutting measures, including Catford and Eltham, although Bexleyheath's station stayed open after protests.

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Vicky Foxcroft, MP for Deptford and Lewisham, said: "If the financial situation were different I don’t believe this would be happening. This is due to continued government cuts to policing.

“I have been meeting with the borough commander and the head of community safety on the council to find ways to make sure we can mitigate anything that goes wrong.

“I feel very strongly that we can’t keep making cuts. It’s not just the police that are being cut – all public services are being cut, from the NHS to education. They are reaching breaking point."

David Evennnett, MP for Bexleyheath and Crayford, said: " I do have some real concerns on behalf of my constituents about the consequences of merging the police commands. 

"In particular response times, experiences elsewhere where this has been piloted and the relationship with the local community in Bexleyheath and Crayford."

More resources are being put into officers working with young people, schools as well as with care homes. There are also more officers being put into 999 and 101 call centres to cope with increased numbers of calls there.

The new system will have a staggered release as the Met tests the model, with police already testing the system in north London with Redbridge and Havering boroughs, along with Camden and Islington boroughs.

Leading the work is deputy assistant commissioner Mark Simmons. He said: "Local policing is at the heart of what the Met does every day, and we will improve it further by offering a service that is more personal and responsive to the needs of Londoners.

"BCUs will allow us to put first victims of crime and those people who need us the most. Our new structure will also give us the resilience and consistency we need across the whole of London, so we can continue to respond to large scale incidents and meet the financial and operational challenges we are facing."