BARNET'S representative on the London Assembly publicly attacked the top policeman in the borough accusing him of “spreading doom and gloom” about impending cuts.

Quizing Met Police commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson at City Hall on Wednesday Councillor Brian Coleman said borough commander Neil Basu was “using the language of ten years ago” when talking about new strategies.

He said: “ What would the commissioner say to borough commanders who are rushing round their boroughs spreading doom and gloom.

“Not least the borough commander of Barnet who did it again on Monday night in front of a meeting of Barnet cabinet, saying that he's got to reallocate his resources that will inevitably mean cuts in Safer Neighbourhood, doesn't rule out extraction.

“Sadly he's going back to the language of ten years ago talking about deprivation, poverty and crime figures, which is all very well, but the result of that was that policing disappeared from nice middle class wards across great areas of the suburbs and many areas of outer London lost confidence in the Met because they did not see any police resources.”

Sir Paul defended Mr Basu, saying he had sent guidelines to borough commanders on how they should frame the debate about cuts and the policing challenges.

He said: “I understand you're a bit distressed by what your borough commander said the other night, that was fed back to me.

“I've had him spoken to and he's absolutely satisfied and I'm absolutely satisfied his discussions have operated within those rules.

“I happen to think you have a very good borough commander who's not spreading doom and gloom.

“He's trying to have a discussion to try and find out how do we make sure what we've got in the future has been rigorously examined and tested.”

After the meeting Cllr Coleman, who represents the Totteridge area, issued a statement saying he had “won the support” of Sir Paul “for the protection of policing in middle class suburban areas of Barnet”.

He added: “Borough Commanders should make sure that Safer Neighbourhood Teams can deliver a minimum level of service in every area and communicate this to the public to ensure fear doesn’t spread.”