Police station front counter in Barkingside under threat of closure
PUBLISHED: 15:00 17 July 2017
Under proposals being put out to consultation, Woodford Police Station may be sold, while the front counter at Barkingside Police Station could be closed to the public.
The cost-cutting measures, which was announced by the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC) last Friday, comes as the Metropolitan Police looks to save £400 million.
The sweeping change is designed to save the Metropolitan Police millions, partly through the sale of properties.
In 2013, the front counter at the station in High Road, Woodford Green, closed to the public, leaving it solely as a base for officers.
Under the proposals, each of the Met’s 32 boroughs will be left with one 24-hour counter, which in Redbridge would be Ilford Police Station.
Following the announcement, Ilford North MP Wes Streeting said he had feared that the counter at Barkingside may be forced to close.
He said: “The Metropolitan Police face another £400 million of cuts by 2021 because the government continues to underfund policing in our city. This situation cannot continue.
“Barkingside Police Station is a vital point of contact for residents in a well-connected part of the constituency.
“I’ve been worried for some time that the government’s underfunding of our police could affect services at that station, and this now looks more likely.
“I welcome Sadiq Khan’s commitment to put extra community police on the beat in Ilford North, but unless the Tories give him the resources he needs, policing in London will suffer.”
According to City Hall figures, around 8 percent of crime was reported to the police at front counters last year, and that number is expected to fall further.
Under the new strategy, which is set out in a consultation document on public access and engagement, more crimes could be investigated over the phone, with victims providing statements remotely, instead of meeting an officer face to face.
But an officer will still attend if there is evidence to support an investigation, or if the victim needs an officer to attend.
People are also encouraged to report crimes online, either via the main Met Police website, or through social media on Twitter.
The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said he had “no choice” but to sell the buildings in order to protect the number of frontline police officers.
He said: “The huge government cuts to the Metropolitan Police Service have left us with no choice but to take drastic action to protect the frontline of policing.
“My top priority is keeping Londoners safe, and every pound saved by closing a front counter is a pound of savings that we do not have to find by reducing the frontline.”
Council leader Jas Athwal said he wanted to ensure the best deal was achieved for Redbridge residents.
He said: “We will remain in close contact with Met colleagues and the tri-borough commander about the proposed closure of front counters at our stations in Redbridge and those in neighbouring boroughs and will be responding to the consultation.
“I understand the police and the Mayor of London have a difficult task ahead of them following the Tory central government’s decision to remove around £40million from policing; after promising not to cut policing services in London this puts the safety of our residents at risk and I want to ensure we get the best deal possible for our borough.”
The public consultation will last three months. To take part, click here.
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