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Councillors agree to lobby Boris Johnson in bid to save Redbridge police stations from closure

PUBLISHED: 10:32 21 September 2012 | UPDATED: 10:34 21 September 2012

MPs Ian Duncan Smith and John Cryer outside Wanstead Police Station with other campaigners earlier this month

MPs Ian Duncan Smith and John Cryer outside Wanstead Police Station with other campaigners earlier this month

Archant

A wave of dismay at “strong rumours” police stations in Redbridge could close to save money saw councillors unite as they mapped out a plan of action to fight the threat.

What was agreed

• For the council to lobby Boris Johnson not to close Wanstead Police Station, while demanding that the report on London’s police stations be placed in the public domain, followed by a full public consultation on the issue.

• To ascertain where the Wanstead Safer Neighboruhood Teams will be stationed, along with the burglary squad and members of the rapid response team and how the service would be delivered.

A separate motion agreed:

• To support residents’ campaigns in Wanstead and elsewhere to keep police stations open

• To ask the chief executive to write to the Mayor of London, the commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, and the Redbridge borough commander, to outline our opposition to the potential closure of local police station, and to invite them to meet with concerned residents.

Thousands of people put their name to a petition forcing a debate at last night’s full council meeting in Redbridge Town Hall, High Road, Ilford on the possible closure of Wanstead Police Station.

The station in Spratt Hall Road, Wanstead, reopened in 2003 after bring closed just two years earlier, but a Metropolitan Police review into its building stock could see it axed once more.

Woodford Police Station, High Road, Woodford Green and the police base in Chadwell Heath could also be closed.

Lead petitioner and Wanstead resident Helen Zammett told councillors: “A police station is a symbol of deterrence.

“You can’t put reassurance on a spreadsheet.”

Councillors hit out at the time it would take safer neighbourhood team officers – who would have to be relocated if the stations closed – to travel to their wards.

Liberal Democrat Cllr Richard Hoskins said: “The thought the west of the borough can be policed from Barkingside is utter nonsense”, with Conservative Cllr Alex Wilson adding: “It’s not Barkingside, it’s barking mad.”

Conservative Cllr Linda Huggett said the feared closures were not just “rumours or threats”, telling colleagues antennae has been removed from the roof of Woodford Police Station and adding: “We need to have a heart in our community and we need to ensure it continues to beat in the west of the borough.”

Members were told the council leader and colleagues have had meetings with borough commander Det Ch Supt Sue Williams on the issue, and were calling for Met bosses to include her views as part of their review.

Community safety cabinet member Shoaib Patel said police need the “right resources to do the job”, while Labour leader Cllr Jas Athwal said the possible closures were an “attack on the fabric of our society which is being eroded away”.

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