May 19 2013 Latest news:
by Paul Harper
Tuesday, June 26, 2012
Orpington Police Station is facing closure sparking fears officers will take longer to respond to crime in the area.
The Metropolitan Police Service plans to sell the building in The Walnuts, Orpington, along with eight others in London claiming they are under-used and expensive to run.
Cllr Tom Papworth, leader of the Bromley Liberal Democrats, said: “The issue is whether the level of policing or response time of officers is impaired by the closure. Our concern is not the old bricks and mortar building but the impact on its safer neighbourhood team.
“We are keen to see community policing is sustained.”
He continued: “In my experience after Penge Police Station closed around two years ago, the squad car now comes from Bromley and takes considerably longer to arrive. I witnessed an assault in Anerly Road, Crystal Palace, and dialled 999 and then watched as the assailant hung around. The police arrived after 40 minutes.”
A final decision on closing the stations, which include Sidcup in neighbouring Bexley, is not expected until the autumn.
Jo Johnson, Conservative MP for Orpington, said: “It is important to remember that the police station has not been in full time use for many years. The Met has assured me that it will find new premises in the town centre for the safer neighbourhood team and the front counter service before any closure of the police station.
“Ultimately, the building has the potential to play a key part in a bigger project to regenerate the town centre and bring much needed footfall to the High Street.”
A Bromley police spokesman said: “We are looking at how we vacate some buildings including Orpington police station which currently accommodates a limited number of officers and volunteers.
“The building therefore has very limited operational hours. It is also far larger than is needed and, because of its age, costly to run and maintain.
“We have approval in principle from the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC) to relocate from Orpington Police Station during this financial year.
We will continue to develop our strategy for this building.”