The Labour group in Waltham Forest published a “blatant lie” in leaflets distributed to residents, according to the Conservative opposition.

Campaigning ahead of local elections in May, Labour candidates for Hale End and Highams Park ward this week handed out leaflets carrying the message “Labour delivers 119 new police officers”.

But Tory councillors rounded on candidates Tony Bell, Simon Bottomley and Jonathan Lloyd for taking credit for a decision made by the Mayor’s office.

Labour claims it led the campaign which saw police numbers rise – a campaign Conservatives say was a cross-party initiative.

Marion Fitzgerald, Hatch Lane ward councillor, said: “A number of my constituents have told me this week that they have seen a leaflet from the Labour party which claims that Labour is responsible for the extra 119 police officers who are coming into Waltham Forest.

“This is a blatant lie and it should be nailed now.”

Cllr Fitzgerald added that the Labour council has “nothing to do with policing in the borough”.

Conservative group leader Matt Davis said: “It was, and is, of course excellent news that Waltham Forest secured an additional 119 police officers, however it was cross-party efforts involving all three parties, and the Conservative Mayor of London, that secured this, not just the Labour party.

“You can tell there is an election in the offing when Labour starts claiming sole credit for anything and everything. They’ll be saying the current sunshine is down to only them next.”

Currently all three seats in Hale End and Highams Park ward are held by Conservative councillors.

A Labour spokesman said it was their group’s campaigning which led to Waltham Forest bucking the London-wide trend of a reduction in police officer numbers.

“Our Calling for Backup campaign called on Boris Johnson to address the shortfall in the number of police officers in our borough,” the spokesman said.

“We are happy that the London Mayor responded positively to the pressure applied by this Labour council.”