From January 2017, the Metropolitan Police Service will begin testing a proposed restructure of local policing.
This will entail moving from a Borough-based policing model to Basic Command Units (BCU). This approach will be tested in two areas which will bring together, Barking and Dagenham, Redbridge and Havering boroughs, and Camden and Islington boroughs.
Boroughs vary in size, have different ways of doing things, and have different resources and demands. Unfortunately this can mean that demand is difficult to manage and our flexibility to meet new policing challenges is limited.
To deliver a service to local communities which is efficient, flexible and fit for the future, the Met is testing a change to the way local policing is managed across London. The new model brings together the management of neighbourhoods, response, investigation and protection of vulnerable people, including child protection, victims of sexual abuse and domestic abuse.
The Met has been considering moving from the traditional 32 borough model to a smaller number of larger units for some time and has been speaking to partners, including local councils and the Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC), about how this might be taken forward.
By testing the model first, the Met and those partners can assess how it works and if the predicted benefits come into practical reality.
Each test BCU will be led by an interim BCU commander, a chief superintendent who will be supported by four superintendents. Each borough within the BCU will have a dedicated superintendent. Superintendents will have cross borough leadership for one of the core local policing functions: neighbourhoods, response, investigation and protecting vulnerable people.
People, buildings, technology and vehicles will all be shared across the boroughs within the BCU.
This change will not impact upon our commitment to increase Dedicated Ward Officers (DWOs) from one to two in each ward as announced earlier this year. In the test sites, the numbers of DWOs will be increased further as well as an increase in the number of officers dedicated to working with young people.
Any further roll out of this new model will be informed by the results from these test sites.
Deputy Assistant Commissioner Mark Simmons, who is responsible for the BCU test, said: "Change is important for the Met to remain operationally effective in the changing policing landscape. We want to invest more into neighbourhood policing and protect vulnerable people across London as well as make sure we are able to deal with predicted increases in demand.
"We also want to implement a way of investigating crime that is more focused on what victims need and can be even more effective in tackling serious offending.
"To achieve these goals - and to improve the service we give to Londoners - we are testing this approach to ensure that it meets our commitments to communities and provides best value for the boroughs of London."
The Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime, Sophie Linden, said: "Restoring real neighbourhood policing is our top priority. We want people to know their local officer, to build the trust of communities and for people to have the confidence to report crime to the police.
"We have already announced a second dedicated neighbourhood officer across London by the end of 2017. But we want to go further and ensure that the right specialist resources are in place to tackle more complex issues, such as sexual offences. To achieve this, the Met believes it needs to organise itself in fewer, larger units, reducing the amount spent on management and maximising the amount spent on operational policing. These pathfinders will test new ways of working in partnership.
"Further evaluation and consultation will follow, after which and alongside our new Police and Crime Plan, decisions will be taken on the best way to deliver our commitment to real neighbourhood policing."