Rumours are circulating that both Marylebone & St Johns Wood police stations are for the chop by the Met. Such front counter closures could lead to the police retreating from local communities – this is the last thing Londoners we want or need particularly in Marylebone & St Johns Wood.
We are calling for the Mayor to keep his pledge for a public consultation all front counter and police station closures. If a police front counter is closed it must be replace with a suitable, alternative like-for-like service.
Boris Johnson admitted at last weeks Mayor’s Question Time that it would be ‘difficult’ to keep his promise to maintain police numbers at 32,000 in light of government cuts to the Metropolitan Police. The Mayor also faced questions over his plans to change the structure of the Metropolitan Police whereby some borough’s police services would be merged, and plans to close police stations and front counters.
The Mayor admitted getting the numbers back up will not be easy, adding “even though it is important for us as a city to keep the police, to keep the public focussed on that high number – because if it goes down then ultimately there will be a difficulty in getting enough police out there.”
The plans, which will be publicly consulted on in October, will also see some boroughs sharing services but it is not yet clear what services will be shared or which boroughs will be affected.
The changes also downgrade the Mayor’s promise to replace any police stations and front counters that he closed down. His new commitment is to maintain a minimum of one 24/7 front counter per borough.
These are yet more broken promises from the Mayor and shows that a commitment from Boris isn’t worth the paper it’s written on. Ensuring public safety and access to police services for Westminster’s residents should be critical, especially at a time when robbery, burglary and sexual offences are rising.
These cuts are deeply worrying. We need effective partnerships between our borough police forces and their local councils, community groups and residents. These changes will lead to the thin blue line becoming ever thinner. The loss of stations and front counters could lead to the Met retreating from local communities and making it harder for residents to access police services. Any plans must be subject to a full and transparent public consultation.
The riots last year showed us that we need enough officers for a range of situations to keep us all safe. The best way of doing that is to keep police numbers as high as possible.
Reductions in police numbers are due to central government cutting too far, too fast. It appears that the Mayor and his Conservative colleagues in government only have a plan to cut police, not crime.