“We don’t want to see knife crime coming into the borough,” said a top councillor in Richmond as he announced £100,000 for community safety schemes.

Councillor Robin Brown, cabinet member for finance, committed the money – to be used mainly to improve the borough’s neighbourhood watch network – as the council approved this year’s budget.

There have been growing concerns in the borough about increasing levels of robberies and muggings, as well as serious youth violence.

The council hopes this money will reassure residents, who might be worried that the local police service would struggle to cope with any further increases in crime.

Cllr Brown said: “We don’t fund the police, but all the ward councillors work pretty closely with the local police in their areas, talking about priorities.

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“We are acutely aware of underfunding, the problems with the reorganisation into Basic Command Units (BCUs), the service not being resourced properly and a high vacancy rate.”

The money will be used in part to develop a digital platform to better connect the neighbourhood watch branches, which will in turn help the police and keep areas safe.

Cllr Brown said: “If we have local residents who are supported to do whatever they can, that can really help.

“People are worried at the moment about an increase in robberies and muggings.

“But I hope we are giving a message that we hear people’s worries.

“Crime in Richmond is still relatively low. But we don’t want to see knife crime coming into the borough.”

From January 2018 to January 2019 there was a 4.5% reduction in total offences reported in the borough, compared to the previous 12 months, including antisocial behaviour, burglary and moped crime.

But over this period there were more robberies (365) and incidents of serious crimes involving people under the age of 24 (139) – a marked increase.

Superintendent Simon Message from the South West BCU that covers Richmond wanted to reassure residents that the borough is one of the safest in London.

He said: “In the last 12 months, knife crime in Richmond borough has accounted for less than 1% of the offences of knife crime in London.

“Violent crime increased nationally from 2016, and while London saw particular increases at the beginning of 2018, more recently we have seen the rates not only begin to stabilise but in relation to the number of overarching knife crime and in particular in regards to people under the age of 25, it has started to reduce.

“However, we are not complacent and will continue to prioritise, prevent and reduce violent crime in Richmond.”

Chair of Richmond safer neighbourhood board and former senior police officer Peter Kirkham said: “There are fewer officers across the four boroughs [covered by the BCU], plus Richmond suffers in part from being a low-crime borough.

“It’s beyond any common sense to say that there’s no link between numbers of police on the streets and crime on those streets.

“If they have enough officers on a Friday or Saturday night, where do they put them? Outside the pubs and clubs.”

Mr Kirkham welcomed the cash being committed by the council.

He said: “There has always been some cross-funding between the police and council. It’s really just the next step and with a bit more money than usual.

“Police are so hard up these days that any help will be used.”

But he said Richmond is at “very low risk” of knife crime, because of its relative affluence.

He added: “But of course if we have got somewhere that has low crime, and we take resources out of that area over a long time, we know that street criminals will travel.

“It’s important that we don’t lose sight and let the borough be depleted of resources.”

Superintendent Message admitted resourcing issues had been “challenging” in recent years, but this month 13 probationary constables had joined Richmond.

He said: “We have well-established plans in place to manage vacancies and ensure resources are available where they are needed.

“There are also pan-London resources available, such as the Violent Crime Taskforce, should it be deemed necessary to task them to the borough.”