Met detectives are 'constables in jeans and T-shirts'

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The deputy mayor for policing says there will be more frontline officers

A senior Metropolitan Police officer has described some detectives as "constables who wear jeans and a T-shirt" as he outlined budget plans.

Assistant Commissioner Simon Byrne wants to reduce the number of specialist detective squads by a third.

Mr Byrne also plans to move 800 officers into neighbourhood policing roles to help the Met to make £500m budget savings by 2015.

He said some detectives were not trained to the same standard as others.

He said there were 107 different teams focusing on particular crimes in London, such as burglaries and car theft, but in future there would be 32 or one for each of the London boroughs.

Mr Byrne said: "Some of the people in squads, if you're using how we train and accredit, aren't actually detectives, they're just constables who wear jeans and a T-shirt.

"So their level of training is different to someone who has gone on a course."

The force plans to sell 200 buildings including the landmark New Scotland Yard as it faces making huge savings from its £3.6bn annual budget.

Sixty-five front counters are facing closure as the force says fewer people are visiting police stations in person and these are the least used facilities in the capital.

A public consultation has begun across every borough and will end in February.

Post office policing

As part of the Met's cutbacks police services could be offered in a Post Office in a trial scheme.

Deputy Mayor Stephen Greenhalgh announced the Met was in "very early discussions" to set up the pilot, which will be established in six months' time.

He said: "Typically they are staffed by people who are security cleared, are used to taking cash, used to transactions. Some Post Offices also have secure rooms as well.

"What we propose to do at this stage, and we are in very early discussions with the Post Office, is to pilot something, to test something out, and to only expand that if it works."

Under the budget cut plans there would be more constables - up from 24,630 now to 25,909 in 2015 - but a reduction in senior ranks.

These would go from 37 senior managers and 7,160 supervisors now, down to 26 senior managers and 6,022 supervisors in two years' time.

Labour London Assembly Police & Crime spokesperson Joanne McCartney expressed concern over the reduction in experienced officers.

She said: "The government and mayor's cuts are hitting the frontline.

"We have lost over 2,000 police officers in London since May 2010. The mayor has failed to deliver on his election promise and we are now below 31,000 police officers in the capital - which his policing deputy said would be a 'doomsday scenario'.

"Plans to replace senior experienced officers with new recruits has obvious risks, especially around supervision of police constables. This is further evidence that the mayor and government are cutting too far too fast."

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