Officials say Barkingside and Woodford police station are underused - and closure would raise funds
PUBLISHED: 11:21 13 September 2017 | UPDATED: 12:09 13 September 2017
A fiery meeting about the future of policing in Redbridge saw residents and councillors unite against proposals to sell two police stations.
Under proposals being put out to consultation, Woodford police station and Barkingside police station could face the axe amid £400million cost-cutting plans for the Metropolitan Police.
At a meeting on Tuesday night in Ilford Salvation Army, in Clements Road, Det Sup Jane Scotchbrook, of East Area Command, led a discussion on the plans.
About 20 residents attended, along with several Redbridge councillors, including the council head Jas Athwal.
She was joined by Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC) representative Martin Tunstall and Insp Elise Gellatley.
Dep Sup Scotchbrook said that the capital raised could be spent on improving technology available to officers on the front line
Currently, the cost of running Barkingside police station is equivalent to the cost of paying for six police officers a year.
She said: “What it comes down to is it buildings or police officers that we are going to invest our money in?”
According to figures from May, Barkingside police station is one of 20 across London that receive one or even sometimes no crime reports each day at its front counter,
Ilford police station, where an average of 6.5 crimes is reported daily, would remain open 24/7 if the plans laid out are approved.
Woodford police station closed to the public in 2013, leaving it solely as a base for officers.
Councillor John Howard, of Aldborough ward, said victims of crime should be able to report, and seek advice, privately and at the station.
He said: “The two big problems in my ward are vehicle theft and burglary.
“These plans send a strong message to my residents who feel like they are being abandoned.
“It’s rare to see police on the high street but that big blue building at the end of the street is a reassuring sign.”
Mr Tunstall said tackling the financial challenges faced by the Met meant difficult choices had to be made.
He said: “If we don’t save money by closing stations, we will have to face cuts to the front line.”