December 12 2013 Latest news:
Jessica Earnshaw and Lizzie Dearden, Reporter
Thursday, September 12, 2013
Residents and councillors have branded the impending closure of Woodford Police Station’s front counter “disastrous”.
The front counter at the station in High Road, Woodford Green, will close to the public in the coming weeks, leaving it solely as a base for officers.
A wave of changes to the Metropolitan Police coming into effect on Monday will see the station used as a “contact” point for residents for three hours a week.
But resident Gerry Gable said the time, spread over three days, was “not enough”.
He added: “I don’t think people are satisfied but all they are concerned about is Boris Johnson cutting costs.
“I think this is going to be disastrous.”
Woodford Police Station was saved from the axe earlier this year after months of campaigning by residents and councillors.
But Wanstead Police Station, Spratt Hall Road, is being closed and sold, and hours at Barkingside Police Station are being cut.
People will be able to visit four new contact points in Redbridge and nearly 90 extra officers will be coming to the borough over the next two years.
Cllr Jim O’Shea, of Monkhams ward, welcomed the prospect of increased street patrols.
He said: “I think what people want to see is the police walking around and visible on the street.
“With this new model of policing, which remains unproven, it seems as if we are getting extra officers who won’t be confined to a station.
“We fought long and hard to keep the Wanstead and Woodford stations, and I am very disappointed it has come to this, but at least the SNTs will be based out of the station and not have to travel across the borough.”
Church End ward Cllr Richard Hoskins said leaving a contact point at Woodford was merely “gesture management”.
He added: “If officers are still being based out of the station then why can’t their time be managed to be able to speak to the members of the public that come in?
“The fear of crime is almost worse than crime itself, and the fact that the station was there and that crimes could be reported, offered security.”