, Senior reporter
Thursday, January 17, 2013
The west of Redbridge must retain a police station or face becoming a policing “black hole”, say councillors responding to proposed closures.
The Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC) wants to close the front counters at Woodford station in High Road, Woodford Green, and Wanstead station in Spratt Hall Road.
As part of its draft crime plan, which aims to save the Met Police £140million each year in its estate costs by 2015/16, it proposes creating new contact points between safer neighbourhood officers and the public in shops and libraries.
But in a letter to residents, Redbridge Conservative councillors have said: “The combined footfall at Wanstead and Woodford exceeds the viability threshold set by MOPAC.
“Their own figures demand a police presence in the west of our borough.
“The alternative is a policing black hole.”
In selecting 65 front counters to close across the capital, MOPAC set a minimum standard of an average 12 visitors per hour to police stations.
Woodford had 11.4 per hour based on Met Police figures from 2010 and together, the two stations had 18.9.
Cllr Paul Canal, of Bridge ward, said: “There’s a prima facie case for a station in the west.”
None of the stations set to lose their front counters have yet been chosen for closure, but following a consultation process which lasts until March, the Met plans to sell 200 of its “least-used” buildings.
Lori Shearer, co-ordinator of the neighbourhood watch in Monkhams ward, said: “I feel they will sell [Woodford] station because there will be a lot of money for the estate.”
Frank Collins, of Maybank Road, South Woodford, said: “I’m not so averse to getting rid of the station if they come up with something.”
He suggested a permanent police base in a shop front in George Lane, South Woodford.
But he added: “If the community police have got to come from Barkingside, we’re not happy with that.”
The Met’s assistant commissioner Simon Byrne said: “We will be putting more officers into local policing and devoting more to our safer neighbourhoods teams.”