London councils merge park police teams to improve efficiency and response rates

A new specialist team of parks constables is patrolling 87 parks and open spaces across two west London boroughs.

Hammersmith and Fulham Council and the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea merged their two parks constabulary teams last week. The 33 officers will respond faster and work in a "more joined up" way, said the councils.

"Single management means that duplicated middle and senior management roles have been stripped away to keep costs down for taxpayers," said a spokeswoman of the service that operate 365 days a year from 7am until midnight in the summer and until 10pm in winter.

"There are 87 parks and open spaces in the two boroughs including 13 Green Flag parks, which are nationally recognised as being some of the best open spaces in the UK. Parks have also won the Mayor of London’s safer parks award."

Duties include reporting crime within the parks, "detaining" offenders, enforcing byelaws and dog control orders, and providing security at park events. They will handle dog chipping, cycle marking, use- group meetings and gate locking.

"Officers with ultra-high frequency radios with GPS tracking and interactive mapping will also wear body-worn cameras to gather evidence on dog fouling and litter dropping. They can fine and are trained in first aid.

Hammersmith and Fulham deputy leader Greg Smith said: "We are creating a specialist team. Our awarding-winning open spaces will remain safe places while we will continue to clamp down on the minority intent on causing trouble or committing a crime."

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