Chiswick Police Station to Close?
Leaked report suggests local station could be shut
The possibility of Chiswick's police station being closed has been raised by the publication of a leaked report which is proposing that around half of the capital's stations are axed to save costs.
The plans, which were published in the Evening Standard, envisage each borough having just one 24 hour police station. It is assumed that Hounslow station would serve this role for the borough if the proposals were to be implemented. There would be just one other part-time station in the borough and it has been suggested that this would either be Chiswick or Feltham, with the other one to be closed. Their function would be replaced by a series of 'contact points' in supermarkets, coffee shops and libraries where the public could speak to police officers. Brentford station appears likely to close.
The Metropolitan Police are reported to have a £500 million budget gap and the closure of stations, particularly older Victorian ones, would go some way to balancing the books. They have recently announced plans to move their headquarter from New Scotland Yard to smaller premises.
According to the Standard, the Met’s plan had not been signed off by the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime, which still has to review the proposals and hold a public consultation. A final decision is to be made in March according to a spokesperson for the Mayor.
Senior officers have argued that most people no longer visit a police station to report crime as more use is being made of the phone or the internet. There has been a 20 per cent fall in counter visits over the last four years. It is argued that the new contact points will make officers more accessible and provide a greater amount of face-to-face contact with the public.
A public meeting about the plans will take place at 8pm on February 6th at the Hounslow Civic Centre. This is part of the consultation process to inform Londoners of forthcoming changes.
Labour London Assembly member Murad Qureshi described the consultation process as a shame and said it was a deliberate strategy to force through measures which the Mayor has already decided to implement. He says, "The Police and Crime Consultation will only last one hour and Boris’ Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime intends on packing in two of these sessions every night. This is a complete sham and doesn’t give residents enough time to digest the plans and comment on all of the areas that will be covered"
There has been no official confirmation or denial of the validity of the report. When we contacted Chiswick police station nobody was available for comment.
December 21, 2012