Cuts to police funding have left cops “playing football with nine men” in the wake of the controversial borough mergers.

It comes as the chief superintended for Bexley, Greenwich and Lewisham, Simon Dobinson, said the Met doesn’t have the resources to monitor CCTV despite Bexley alone having more than 200 cameras.

In a bid to drive costs down, Scotland Yard last year merged boroughs into clusters of two or three known as basic command units.

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A new report has revealed resources in Bexley, Greenwich and Lewisham were stretched during the transition, with cops facing “some challenges” during the merger.

The move also forced stations to reduce the number of officers, with cop numbers already down by 20,000 since 2010.

At a meeting on April 3, Mr Dobinson, who heads up south-east London’s BCU, told councillors: “The reality is as a BCU that from when we started as three boroughs to now as one I have 100-odd fewer police posts because of funding requirements.

“Within that I have 91 vacancies, within that I have 57 cops restricted from operational work. I have a six per cent sickness rate, officers connected to operations elsewhere in London.

“The reality is we are playing in the Premier League, we need a squad of 15, starting with 11 – we can put nine on the field and everyone needs to be a striker and a defender and a goalkeeper.”

Mr Dobinson said the BCU has brought specialist policing, such as serious sexual offences and child abuse, back to a local level – but officers are being put under more pressure to step in on incidents that they’re not suited for.

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“When you look at the changes in demand, we suffer a significant demand for people suffering with mental health. That’s at the detriment of us using our resources in other areas.

“Cops are not trained in mental health to the extent that they are best people to deal with those issues,” he said.

The top cop said frontline officers are now being better trained in investigation skills to take on more crimes rather than pass it on to specialists.

The senior officer was pressed on how CCTV was being used in Bexley, a borough that handed over its control to the Met but continues to pay for maintenance of a control room and hundreds of cameras.

“CCTV in my tenure is not actively monitored,” Mr Dobinson said. “We don’t have the asset for it, we’ve never had the asset for it.

“Certainly, cops sat there watching CCTV is not an efficient use of police time, we don’t have the resources for it.

“We use it to collate and gather evidence in relation to incidents reported.

“There is some work to try and review that where we might be able to use it more live-time.

“We do have officers using it from Bexleyheath police station – there is opportunity to access CCTV for investigations.”