Plans to move response officers out of Mitcham police station have ignited fears emergency call-out times to the east of the borough would suffer.

The station in Cricket Green would house only administrative staff and could close altogether as part of Merton police’s long-term restructuring plans, expected to be introduced later this year.

Mitcham response units will be based at Wimbledon police station while senior officers attempt to broker a move to a new central police station earmarked for construction in Deer Park Road, yards from The Bill’s fictional Sun Hill home.

Merton’s borough commander, Chief Superintendent Chris Bourlet, insisted the move would not lead to an increase in emergency response times. However, some officers have hit out at the plan.

One, who did not wish to be named, said: “There was no consultation with the officers who are already based at Mitcham. The move has been sprung on us with very little warning for us to either alter existing travel arrangements or to implement new ones.

“What is most disappointing though is the response times for emergency calls in Mitcham will undoubtedly suffer, which means the real losers are the people that live there that need us.”

But Chief Supt Bourlet said officers called out to emergencies were already on the ground and not in the station so the time taken to respond to an emergency would not be affected.

He said: “Our measure is response times and we have strict performance guidelines. I don’t see this having any impact - if there were, this isn’t something we would consider.

“We’re looking at what we can do and the short term option is to base patrol officers in Wimbledon but we’re putting it on hold until later in the year even though our aspiration is to do this.”

He added the police were also looking to find a site for a new safer neighbourhood base in Mitcham town centre.