Front Counter Has Closed At Chiswick Police Station

Residents and business owners fear that it will lead to increase in crime

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The front counter at Chiswick Police Station closed for public access yesterday (Dec 14th) as police reassured people that more officers would be out on the streets of London, including across the borough of Hounslow.

"Your 24/7 front counter at Hounslow Police Station will remain open for you to speak to an officer", they said.

Despite the police assurances that crime statistics in Chiswick do not bear out the public perception of increased crime, local people are unhappy about the closure of the front counter to members of the public. You can read the reasons given for the closure from remarks made by Borough Commander Raj Kohli when he appeared at the Chiswick Area Forum recently.

Funding from Hounslow Council is to ensure an additional one Police Sergeant and nine Constables are in place as part of the drive to ensure the borough is a safe place for residents.

At a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday, (12 December), a total of £1,149,000 was committed to ensure the officers are funded for three years until April 2021. This is match-funded by the Metropolitan Police Service.

At a public meeting in Chiswick with local police representatives last week, several residents and business owners made clear their concerns.

Though the station will no longer be open to the public to report crime, the building is still in use as a base for police officers from Hammersmith while work continues on a station there. It is not clear whether these officers might respond to an urgent situation in W4 even though it is not their area of responsibility. Also, there are concerns about the time it will take the Rapid Response team to arrive in Chiswick from their base in Feltham.

It is also not yet known where local SNT officers in Chiswick will be based, as no 'hub' has yet been found for them to and suitable locations are still being sought. They will continue to meet with the public at the 'cuppa with a copper' sessions in various locations.

Inspector Jonathan Shard, who has responsibility for Chiswick, attended the meeting, along with Inspector Wayne Mathews and Inspector Dee O Connor. The police representatives reiterated the reasons given for closure of the front counter, that the numbers of crime reported on a daily basis did not justify the expense of keeping it open, in line with other closures of front counters throughout London. The public is being encouraged to report crime either online or by telephoning 101.

A member of the public pointed out that not everyone has access to a smartphone or to the internet, particularly the elderly.

The officers were keen to reassure the public that future arrangements for policing in the W4 area would be adequate.

One local resident said that it was obvious that local people did not want the station to close and the community had real concerns. There had been an increase in anti social behaviour and crime, included moped crimes, and the closure of the front counter was a real loss.

December 15, 2017

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