Kingston police's borough commander Martin Greenslade is stepping down at the end of the month, it has been announced.

A message posted today on the borough police’s official Twitter feed read: “Borough Commander Martin Greenslade will be moving on to a new role in April, his last day will be the end of January.”

Det Chief Supt Greenslade took over the role in July 2009, having previously held the same role in Bromley.

The announcement follows Metropolitan Police proposals to merge Kingston and Richmond with one borough commander as part of a plan to save £500m from the policing budget by 2015.

Reacting to the news, Kingston Council leader Derek Osbourne said: “I think Martin has been one of a number of borough commanders who are very much face to face with the community and strongly believe in partnerships and impact with the community.

“He’s done a marvellous job developing relationships and defending the Kingston corner.

“I think his ability to get the new custody suite built at Kingston police station will mean that Kingston policing in the town centre is safe for some time.”

John Azah, director of Kingston Race and Equalities Council, said he was shocked when he heard the news.

He said: "I rate him very highly. I have worked with quite a number of borough commanders and he would come in my top two or three.

"I think he's been a phenomenal leader and continued to do the things Kingston does best and engaged with the community and he's very clear about what he wanted for Kingston and also listened to what's good for the community."

Mr Azah said he thought Mr Greenslade had taken advantage of another opportunity amid the prospect of police cuts.

He said: "I think he probably would have gone because of the cuts that are developing within the service. A lot of people would have been preparing for exit anyway."

Howard Jones, former detective and leader of Kingston Council's Conservatives, said: "Martin served the borough with distinction.

“He’s always been ready to consult and put the residents of Kingston first.

“The job of borough commander in modern policing is not an easy one when you have to live within very defined financial means.

"Martin’s done a sterling job and we will be forever grateful to him."