‘Redbridge is disadvantaged with policing’ admits Met Police chief at heated meeting
- Credit: Archant
Redbridge is “disadvantaged” compared to central London boroughs when it comes to policing, according to the head of the Metropolitan Police.
Speaking to a public meeting in Ilford yesterday evening, Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe said the changes being brought in would ensure residents get their “fair share” of officers.
He admitted that too many officers have been taken away from the area for large central London operations like policing protests and state funerals.
Sir Bernard said: “To an extent, you are disadvantaged here because police officers are concentrated around central London in Westminster and Camden and you don’t get quite the same service.
“But you should be getting your fair share and I think it should be alright.”
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He was acting on borough commander Det Ch Supt Sue Williams’ request to use fewer local officers, he said.
Around 80 people packed into the meeting, which got heated when the audience voiced their anger over police station closures and the controversial Mark Duggan inquest verdict.
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Sir Bernard was left red-faced when one woman demanded he settled rumours that he had tried to retire but was not allowed to.
After answering another question, he said: “I’m not going to retire, although people might want me to.
“Anyone saying I am can come and see me.”
Several residents expressed concerns about the closure of Wanstead Police Station and demanded to see more officers on patrol.
The building is being sold as part of Metropolitan Police plans to save £600million. The force is also having less managers and losing 3,500 staff but Sir Bernard said the number of police officers in Redbridge has gone up.
Mairead O’Riordan said road safety drive Operation Safeway, which she dubbed “Operation Make Some Money” was penalising minor offences at the expense of stopping crime.
She added: “In the days before Christmas, 10 houses were burgled in roads adjacent to the closed Wanstead Police Station, when 10 police officers were standing in Aldersbrook Road.”
Sir Bernard said officers only fined drivers for criminal offences and were trying to improve safety following the deaths of four cyclists.
He added that 70 per cent of people driving uninsured cars “are criminals” and seizing them is vital.
The meeting, at Redbridge Town Hall, was part of a “roadshow” of appearances around London.