The leader of Harrow Council has defended his decision to appoint a ‘crime and community cohesion’ cabinet member last year.

Cllr Graham Henson emphasised the important work carried out by Cllr Krishna Suresh in linking together residents, the police and the council.

It came after Harrow Conservatives leader Cllr Paul Osborn questioned the need for an extra position that was not mentioned in the run up to last year’s elections.

He cited the extra £58,000 spent by the council on the current cabinet, though Cllr Henson pointed out that £20,000 covered Cllr Suresh’s role with the remainder used for “a range of issues that affected all councillors”.

The leader explained the position was established in response to rising concerns surrounding violent crime in the borough.

He said: “We needed to create a strong partnership between our councillors, our residents, our officers and our business, leading by example in building a Harrow for the future.

“When you go out knocking on doors you get an understanding that people felt there was a breakdown in community cohesion.

“We saw this through increased violence and also disagreements between different communities and faiths – that was very disappointing, and we needed to do something about it.”

He added this showed his administration is prepared to face things head on and invest in serious issues as opposed to shying away from the problem.

Upon his appointment, Cllr Suresh said he wanted people to feel safe again when they walk the streets.

“People are worried that Harrow’s community is changing for the worse,” he said.

“They’re worried about crime and anti-social behaviour, which is on the rise here and all over London. The residents I speak to – it’s their biggest concern.

“The council doesn’t have all the resources in the world, but we can do a great deal to bring organisations together, to bring people together, and to help everyone work together, so we can achieve something for our community that we might never have thought possible on our own.”