SNT officers could operate from council bases if campaign to keep police stations open fails, says leader

Safer neighbourhood officers could operate from bases provided by Redbridge Council if campaigners fail to keep Wanstead police station open, according to the council leader.

Cllr Keith Prince addressed a packed public meeting in Wanstead library, Spratt Hall Road, last night, which was called over fears the area could lose its station following a Met police review.

Wanstead and Snaresbrook councillors and a residents’ alliance have collected more than 3,500 signatories to petitions opposing a closure, as the Met reviews its building stock to contribute towards �500m of savings.

Cllr Prince said: “I’m not proposing we provide a police station.

“[It’s] if we’re forced to do it.

“I don’t want anyone to be able to cop out.

“If the situation arises that the only place the SNTs (safer neighbourhood teams) can go is Barkingside or Leytonstone, we will provide a base or a room for them.”

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The Met’s property services department is due to make recommendations on buildings which could be sold to the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime, who will have the final say. Wanstead station in Spratt Hall Road, which houses the Wanstead and Snaresbrook SNTs; Woodford station in High Road, Woodford Green, and the police base in Chadwell Heath are understood to be under threat.

Supt Stewart Hill, the deputy borough commander, told the meeting: “Whatever happens, we will have a business plan that will cover the consequences.

“We must take “what if” in to consideration.”

The Wanstead station is used by 20 officers including “specialist crime units”, according to Mr Hill.

It is at the heart of the community, said Cllr Sue Nolan, who added that councillors would do their “very, very best” to keep it open.

Helen Zammett, chair of the Counties Residents’ Association, said: “If it closes, there’s no deterrent and no police presence.”

Roger Evans, the London Assembly member for Havering and Redbridge, offered to present the petitions to the assembly, and said the argument on “individual police stations” could be won.

John Cryer, the MP for Leyton and Wanstead, said: “A test of public services is their proximity to the people they serve.”