'Woodford needs policing hub' says Iain Duncan Smith MP
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Iain Duncan Smith has called for the re-introduction of a police base to South Woodford.
Woodford Police Station was decommissioned and sold earlier this year, having been closed to the public since 2013.
The MP for Chingford and Woodford Green wrote to commissioner Cressida Dick on Friday, September 8, encouraging her to re-consider the need for a policing hub in the area.
He said that a visible police base would “provide reassurance to residents" and reduce travel time for safer neighbourhood teams (SNT), freeing up resources.
He called on the commissioner to speak to the London Fire Brigade, suggesting that the nearby Woodford Fire Station in Snakes Lane West could present an opportunity to pool resources.
The Woodford police station continued to be used by the area’s SNTs until January, when they were relocated to Barkingside Police Station.
The station was then decommissioned and sold, along with nine other “surplus” sites approved for sale by London deputy mayor for policing Sophie Linden – there are currently plans to convert the building into office space.
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A spokesperson for the Mayor of London said that the decision to sell a number of police stations, including Woodford’s, was to protect officer numbers and prioritise tackling crime.
They added: “The mayor’s top priority has always been to keep Londoners safe and it is right that frontline policing is prioritised over buildings that are no longer needed nor fit for purpose.
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“Dedicated ward officers continue to carry out patrols and work in their local community and are now based a short journey away in Barkingside Police Station.”
Mr Duncan-Smith claimed safer neighbourhood teams for Monkhams, Churchfields and South Woodford wards now have to travel up to an hour to use the facilities.
He said: “This seems to be an extremely poor use of police time and resources, which I know are already stretched.
“The need to travel long distances will also impact the wellbeing and job satisfaction of officers, who feel they spend more time travelling to and from their wards than doing their job.”
The mayor’s spokesperson noted that officer numbers were now rising and that the Met’s estate was being reviewed in order to look at long-term plans for police stations.
The Metropolitan Police were approached for comment and referred the Recorder to the Mayor’s office for policing and crime.