Bexley’s police chief has insisted investigations will not suffer after the borough’s burglary unit was disbanded.

Borough commander Simon Dobinson said he was “committed” to reducing the number of burglaries in the borough, which has risen by five per cent over the last year.

However, News Shopper has learned the borough’s two officers dedicated to burglary investigations will be moved into the Met’s central office of the criminal investigation department (CID).

According to Chief Supt Dobinson, Bexley’s burglary unit is being absorbed into the main office due to “issues in relation to resilience levels” within the central team.

He insisted the central team now has “greater capacity” to deal with all high-risk crime, including burglary, gun crime and knife crime.

A recent London policing report shows government funding of the Met Police was cut by two per cent between the 2015-16 and 2017-18 budgets.

The report, from the National Audit Office, said forces across the UK have cut the size of their workforces to tackle financial squeezes.

Chief Supt Dobinson told News Shopper: “By moving the officers, they now have better support from their line managers and their knowledge and experience of burglary investigation is being shared across a wider team; thus allowing for a closer scrutiny of the cases, a sharing of best practice and pursuit of offenders.”

He added the move was part of a “wider change” in policing across the south east of the UK, and that new steps will be made to target burglary and robbery suspects.

Updates from policing wards across Bexley in the Bexley Borough Neighbourhood Watch newsletter suggested there had been 13 incidents of burglary or attempted burglary reported in the last week.

Given the increase in reported burglaries over the last year, Mr Dobinson asked the public to remain vigilant and keep reporting crime.

Although he admitted the rise could be a result of more ways to report crime, and the reclassification of shed burglaries to count as ‘residential’, he said: “It is still a growth which I am committed to reducing.”