Violent Crime Spike in Chiswick Since Closure of Police Station
Number of incidents increases by nearly a quarter since front counter shut
Official figures from the Metropolitan Police are giving an early indication of an increase in violent crime in the Chiswick area since the closure of the local police station.
The front counter at Chiswick station was officially shut at the end of last year. Since then there has been just one month’s data published but it suggests that there has been a significant increase in reported crime in the area.
Although it can be argued that it is too early to reach firm conclusions based on just one month there was quite a marked increase in reported crime in the area particularly in violent crime. Instances of violence against the person rose by 24% across the three Chiswick Safer Neighbourhood wards in Hounslow Borough. There were 51 instance of violence towards a person in January 2017 which rose to 63 in January 2018. Crime in general also rose with offences for theft seeing an increase, however reports of robbery appear to have reduced.
On a ward by ward basis, Turnham Green ward, where the station is located, has seen the biggest increase with 116 reported crimes during the month. Chiswick Riverside ward has actually seen a decline in reported crime including offences involving violence.
Critics of the closure had predicted that the crime statistics would have seemed more favourable because of the increased difficulty in reporting a crime for those not online so there is cause for concern the rise in the crime numbers may understate the true position.
Chiswick Police Station's front counter closed to the public from the end of the calendar year, December 2017. The police say this will save over £300,000 a year. The building, which is currently leased by the Met, is likely to be sold but it is not known when. Police officers from Hammersmith & Fulham are to remain there for at least a year while the Hammersmith station is being renovated.
A report by the Mayor's Office into the future of policing in the capital had recommended that Chiswick police station be closed and the building sold off as part of its programme of cutbacks across the capital. Over half the stations in London, 40 out of 73, are to have front counters closed in one of the most radical changes in policing undertaken in the capital.
At the recent Chiswick Area Forum meeting, Borough Commander
Raj Kohli said the station was likely to fetch over £7 million.
However, it is not clear who actually owns the building which has a large
car-park behind it. Some local reports suggest that it is owned by the
Chiswick is to be part of a triborough arrangement, expected to be Hounslow, Ealing and Hillingdon, with a designated commander.
Borough Commander Kohli said that only 1.2 crimes per day were being reported at the front desk in Chiswick. The figures "simply do not stack up" to retain the front counter service in Chiswick he added.
March 11, 2018