Police station closure plans ‘deeply worrying’
12:12 21 December 2012
Metropolitan Police plans to close or reduce the services of dozens of police stations across London are ‘deeply worrying’, an MP has said.
Tottenham MP David Lammy criticised the proposals to close the 65 least-used front counters and maintaining at least one 24-hour counter in every borough.
The force’s proposals come as part of a £500m savings plan.
The Mayor of London’s office said the proposed changes would be subject to full public consultation in the new year, but Mr Lammy warned against leaving a borough the size of Haringey, with a population of around 250,000, with one 24-hour police station.
He said: “I am concerned that the Mayor’s understanding of helping to reduce crime might be helping to reduce the public being able to report crime. That’s what will happen if this set of closures goes ahead.
“To tell my constituents who just months ago watched their homes and shops burn in front of their eyes, that there will be a diminution of police stations on this scale, alongside police officers, is deeply, deeply worrying.”
The plans come less than 18 months after last summer’s riots, which began in Tottenham after the shooting of Mark Duggan by police, and less than a week since Boris Johnson assured Mr Lammy that Tottenham Police Station would stay open in some capacity.
Mr Lammy added: “Of course we want to make our police station accessible.
“But I have constituents who are worried about gang crime. They are worried about ‘that young man who I know is in a gang’ and they want to report it quietly.
“They don’t want to negotiate someone having a latte in a coffee shop. They don’t want to negotiate someone with their shopping in Sainsbury’s”.
A Met spokesman said: “In addition to the round-the-clock counters, other counters, with opening hours more reflective of public demand, will remain in service and we plan to create a number of other contact points to allow the public to seek out help in places more convenient to them.
“Our wider plans will also allow us to visit more victims of crime at home or workplace thus reducing the need in many cases for them to come to us.
“However, no final decisions have been taken on the plans and we are continuing consultation directly with local political leaders and via the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC) with whom final approval of the plans will rest.”