FEARS are mounting that proposed cuts to Safer Neighbourhood Teams would lead to a rise in crime in Haringey.

Concerns have been raised since it was revealed the draft Met Police budget for the next two years includes plans to axe 300 Sergeant positions from the ward-based police teams across London.

This amounts to almost halving the number of senior officers running Safer Neighbourhood Teams, as the Met looks to make big budget cuts.

Gerard McGrath, vice chairman of Haringey Community and Police Consultative Group, said it would be very disappointing if the local teams were affected by the cutbacks.

He said: "We as a group are very concerned at any cutbacks to policing, because although the government is saying public spending needs to be cut, we know it is going to hit our crime figures. The criminals are not going to cut back as well.

"People were quite skeptical when the Safer Neighbourhood initiative started – that it was a political response to concerns.

"But you just have to look at what has been achieved by the teams to know they have proved their worth. I would be very disappointed if the model was dropped."

The Met believes, if it goes through with cutting the number of Sergeants, it can save as much as £15m, but will need to restructure how the teams are run.

A consultation specifically on the future of Safer Neighbourhood Teams is due to finished this month, and it is understood a radical shake-up of the model is being considered to focus on communities rather than the current system of a team for each ward.

Other options believed to be on the table are merging two teams under one sergeant, or focusing the forces' Safer Neighbourhood resources in areas of high crime.

The Met gave an assurance yesterday that no decisions had been taken yet, it stressed the budget figures have not been finalised and that the reduction in funds for Sergeants was an “assumption” at present.

Lynne Featherstone, Lib Dem MP for Hornsey and Wood Green, met with Superintendent Chris Barclay, Acting Borough Commander for Haringey, last week to discuss the future of local teams in the borough.

She, and colleague Councillor Martin Newton, went armed with a survey of residents showing a clear desire to retain the Safer Neighbourhood model.

Ms Featherstone said: “The Safer Neighbourhood Teams have done wonders for our local community. With well-known faces out on the beat, and a high police visibility, residents clearly feel safer, and crime goes down.

"Residents echoed the same sentiment in many of the survey responses - they value and cherish their local police team, and don’t want to see their numbers cut."

Caroline Pidgeon, Lib Dem London assembly member, who helped bring the budget figures to light described it as an "insult to Londoners", and suggested budgeting to halve the number of SNT Sergeants pre-empted a review of local policing that is still ongoing.