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‘Extremely unlikely’ both Wanstead and Woodford police stations will remain open, says Redbridge police chief

09:00 06 December 2012

Borough Commander Sue Williams

Borough Commander Sue Williams

Archant

It is “extremely unlikely” that both Wanstead and Woodford police stations will stay open in the face of budget cuts, according to Redbridge’s most senior police officer.

Public access points

The Met is believed to be proposing seven new public access points in Redbridge but Mrs Williams said she would prefer to have one or two contact points and a mobile unit, similar to a people carrier, that would visit parts of the borough.

She said: “Where we think people will be, we can take it out to them.

“That relies on getting funding and a vehicle.”

Both stations have been under threat of sale, prompting petitions signed by thousands of residents as the Metropolitan Police seeks to save £514million from its £3.4billion budget by 2015.

Speaking to the Recorder yesterday, Det Ch Supt Sue Williams said she has not been told of any decisions and will be asked by the Met’s property services department which buildings she needs in Redbridge.

She said: “It is extremely unlikely [to keep both stations] given the fact we have to make these cuts.

“The Met has to close a third of police stations to save money. I would say I want a base on the west, whether it’s Woodford or Wanstead or somewhere else.”

The Met’s recommendations on buildings will go to the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime [MOPAC] which will make the final decision.

Following a police consultation with Redbridge Council and other community groups, the commander is already facing the loss of the front counters at Wanstead station, in Spratt Hall Road and Woodford station, in High Road, Woodford Green.

Barkingside Police Station, High Street, is to have its public access cut to 60 hours per week under proposals which have gone to MOPAC.

Mrs Williams said: “I’ve got mixed views on it. I think we need to modernise. We have lots of other ways of reporting [crime].

“I do think we have to close some front counters but we have to have something else in place to allow members of the public access to us.”

Wanstead ward Cllr Alex Wilson said: “We continue to oppose the closure of the front counter at Wanstead and the cessation of any other activities there, especially the rapid response team.”

Mrs Williams said the deputy mayor for policing and crime, Stephen Greenhalgh, will visit the borough between January and March when the public will be able to express their views.

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