Just three weeks after the end of a rushed consultation, the Mayor has condemned police stations across London.
The Mayor’s Office for Police and Crime (MOPAC) and the Met police confirmed plans to shut all but one police front counter in each borough.
This comes just three weeks after the close of a consultation on the strategy, which finished on 6 October, and MOPAC has announced barely a single change to their plans to close stations and front counters across London.
People in places like Streatham, where a £500,000 front counter and local police base is to close after just two years, have engaged with the process in good faith, but their petitions haven’t even had time to be digested before final decisions have been made.
If the police want to increase the trust Londoners have in them, they should be listening not brushing off local concerns like this.
Even in Notting Hill, the police station which is needed more than ever now will be closed. Although a replacement front counter has been announced, the local community can rightly suspect this will only be temporary. The people around Grenfell Tower deserved better.
In my response to the consultation I also asked that provision was made to replace the current lost property functions of the police, possibly transferring responsibility entirely to Transport for London to reunite Londoners with lost valuables and treasured possessions. Instead MOPAC have brushed this off, rudely suggesting people should make their own efforts to reunite people with their belongings.
On Thursday at the London Assembly Plenary meeting, I presented a petition from Streatham resident and co-leader of the Green Party, Jonathan Bartley, asking the Mayor to save his local police station. The police base there was hard won in 2015 after the closure of the local police station by Boris Johnson, but is being condemned again barely two years later.
Here I am handing in the petition at the London Assembly and complaining about the rush, so that the signatures from local people didn’t even have time to get submitted formally to the Mayor before final decisions were made:
A paper petition has been signed by more than 750 residents and, with an online version, more than 1,300 people have had their concerns ignored before their concerns were even officially registered. You can see and still sign the change.org petition here.
“Closing the front counter of Streatham police station is a slap in the face to all those who, at very short notice, contributed to the Mayor’s consultation on the understanding their concerns would be listened to.
“The community in Streatham is clearly opposed to the closure of its station, and has been left reeling by this week’s announcement. It appears the decision to close the front counter has been made so quickly that the future for police building itself has been overlooked and isn’t even mentioned in the Mayors decision.”
I’m also shocked that a potential reprieve for one of Camden’s police bases – at Albany Street police station where the front counter would still have been closed but the building retained as a base for local officers in the area – has been cancelled. In my response to the Mayor I said I was glad that “one new local officer base has already been added to plans for Camden compared with what is in the consultation document, and details of this were presented to the public meeting I attended.”
However, this base is not on the list in the final strategy and it seems that our Borough police in Camden were not even told that the decision had been reversed before the document was published. I’m hoping this is a mistake and I’m trying to find out more now.