The leader of Harrow Council has criticised budget cuts to police services, arguing that decisions are now being made “based on finance rather than crime prevention”.

It comes after Simon Rose, borough commander for the area, explained the changes to policing in London that have been motivated by cost-cutting measures.

The commands of Harrow, Brent and Barnet have effectively been merged for months, though the new borough command unit (BCU) for the region officially goes live in November.

Cllr Graham Henson, leader of Harrow Council, said this development is the latest result of government cuts to vital services that protect the public.

He said: “The severe reduction to police budgets in recent years, where forces have lost nearly a third of their total funding, has resulted in an unprecedented increase in all types of crime, particularly violent crime.

“These twin pressures have forced the police into making decisions based on finance rather than crime prevention – the new BCU is an example of just that.”

Mr Rose has previously noted that, while the changes are not ideal, they are manageable.

He explained that keeping the people of these three boroughs safe is his priority and reaffirmed the fact that Local Neighbourhood Teams will still be in effect.

“To save money whilst protecting the front line, provide greater flexibility across policing resources and enable us to share and streamline back office function, the Metropolitan Police is merging its 32 boroughs into 12 BCUs,” he said.

“I would like to take this opportunity to reassure the residents of Harrow and the surrounding areas that the merger process will have very little effect on those living in these boroughs.”

He noted that officers will now be parading from two sites – Wembley and Colindale – as opposed to three.

But, he explained, 24/7 patrols will still be made in Harrow to “ensure the safety of its residents”.

Harrow has witnessed a series of high-profile incidents in recent weeks, including a stabbing by a masked gang, a mass brawl near St Ann’s Shopping Centre, and a robbery involving a 45cm sword.