‘Contact points’ replace front counters as new Redbridge policing model starts today

Possible closures of police stations. Wanstead police station

Possible closures of police stations. Wanstead police station - Credit: Archant

A huge shake-up of policing in Redbridge came into force today, including the closure of two station front counters at Wanstead and Woodford.

Redbridge's Police Borough commander Sue Williams, DCI Stewart Hill and Jack Rainey talked to the Ilford Recorder today...

Redbridge's Police Borough commander Sue Williams, DCI Stewart Hill and Jack Rainey talked to the Ilford Recorder today about the upcoming changes to policing and station closures around Redbridge, at Ilford Polcie station. - Credit: Archant

Ilford Police Station, in High Road, will be Redbridge’s one 24-hour station and Barkingside Police Station, in High Street, will open from 7am-11pm on weekdays.

Woodford Police Station in High Road, Woodford Green, will lose its front counter and become a base for officers and “contact point”.

The Victorian Wanstead Police Station, in Spratt Hall Road, is being sold by the police after it closes.

More than 3,000 people signed petitions to stop the closure of the historic station earlier this year.

In a letter to Boris Johnson, the Wanstead and Snaresbrook Residents’ Alliance said a residential development in the building would be a “disaster” for the area.

Last year, a police spokesman described it as “an old building that is not fit for modern policing”, under-occupied, in poor condition and “costly to run and maintain”.

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A police base in Wangey Road, Chadwell Heath, is also being sold.

Four new contact points will open up across the borough aiming to provide opportunities for residents to talk to police.

One officer will be at the Elder House Community Centre in Green Lane, Goodmayes; the Fencepiece Road Police Office in Barkingside; Wanstead House in The Green, Wanstead; and at Woodford Police Station in High Road, Woodford Green.

The contact points will each be open for one hour on three days a week.

Det Ch Supt Sue Williams said there would not be facilities at all centres for people to speak to officers in private. She added: “Many people will be coming in with inquiries and to find out information. It’s more that kind of thing than reporting crime – I don’t think anyone is going to turn up with a knife sticking out of them.”

Redbridge will also have several “appointment cars” for officers to visit people at home at an arranged time, and more staff will be at the counters of Barkingside and Ilford police stations.

The contact points will be open from 7-8pm on Thursday and Friday and from 2-3pm on Sunday.

The Safer Neighbourhoods teams in each Redbridge ward have been combined into three new “neighbourhoods” covering the borough.

Only one Pc and one PCSO are dedicated to each ward’s team and the others are flexible to be deployed where they are needed.

Instead of passing crimes on, the neighbourhood units will see through each offence from reporting to court and investigate lower level crimes, such as anti-social behaviour.

Det Ch Supt Sue Williams said: “I know some people in the north-west of the borough are worried about losing officers but they will have more available than they ever had.”

Patrols will be boosted with 86 more officers coming into the borough over the next two years.

Each area – north-west, south and central – have roughly equal amounts of crime and will agree a set of priorities.

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