Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Wanstead Police Protest

On Friday evening I attended a special meeting of Redbridge Council's Area 1 Committee which covers the wards of Wanstead and Snaresbrook in the West part of the borough. Chaired by Cllr Chris Cummins, the meeting was called to discuss plans to close Wanstead Police Station which had featured on the front page of the Wanstead and Woodford Guardian.

The deputy borough police commander assured a packed room that no decisions had been taken, however with a £500 million gap in their budget the Met Police had to consider all options and amongst these was a review of their property requirements.

There was widespread local concern, not least because this is not the first threat to the police station. The building was closed in late 2001 but reopened in 2003 after a successful campaign led by local councillor Allan Burgess. During the closure period residents endured a 23% increase in crime in the area.

This time residents are better prepared and there are two petitions opposing the closure, each with over 1,000 signatures. Local councillors and MP John Cryer are united in their opposition and the future of police stations in the borough is due to be debated at a Redbridge Council meeting on 20th October. I have agreed to present the petitions to the Mayor who is ultimately responsible for any decision.

Because closure will lead to poorer response times, loss of public access and removal of a deterrent to crime in the area, I hope that local people and politicians of all parties will be able to speak with one voice against this ill judged plan.


Morris Hickey said...

Hardly surprising. The current Borough Commander, when in the Deputy post in Waltham Forest, presided over the closure of the police stations at Leytonstone and Walthamstow. Chingford would have closed too but for a major fire taking out the policing base in Walthamstow.

I understand that at Woodford (now a part-time station) the radio communications equipment has been removed. It was also closed for two weeks during the daytime this summer whilst the reception clerk took annual leave! Nobody knows whether this coincided with the annual leave period for the criminals......

Barkingside is also now closed to the public at night, and the SNT base in Fencepiece Road appears closed most of the time. There was also a proposal to relocate the SNT teams for Bridge, Church End, Monkhams, Roding, Snaresbrook and Wanstead from their current bases at Woodford and Wanstead to Barkingside rather. This would not only have made them geographically remote from their areas of responsibility but would have added to the case for closure of Woodford. Public and local political pressure has thus far thwarted the move.

I sometimes wonder how some of those who make these plans reconcile their proposals with the principle of public service.

Anonymous said...

Why are local politicians never prepared to live with the local consequences of the national policies their Parties implement?

Morris Hickey said...

And now, apparently, it's fire stations under threat.