Critics opposing the Mayor of London’s policing plan claim closing two police stations would leave a “black hole” in the west of the borough.
London Assembly Member for Enfield and Haringey, Joanne McCartney, expressed her concerns about mayor Boris Johnson’s draft Police and Crime Plan during tonight’s hour-long public consultation in Enfield Civic Centre.
She claimed proposals to close Winchmore Hill Police Station in Green Lanes and Southgate Police Station in Chase Side would leave a “geographical black hole in the west of the borough”.
Concerns were raised that with proposals to shut Barnet and Whetstone stations, there will be a vast gap between Enfield and Edmonton police stations and Golders Green Police Station to the west of the borough in Barnet.
Under the report, which sets out policing for the next four years, Edmonton Police Station in Fore Street would become the only police station open in the borough 24 hours a day.
Enfield Police Station in Baker Street would open during the day, but both police stations in the west would be sold to raise revenue for the Metropolitan Police.
However, the Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime, Stephen Greenhalgh, told the 100-strong audience in Civic Centre in Silver Street that it is time for London to become more “creative” when it comes to policing.
By selling the buildings, he said the Metropolitan Police aims to deploy 85 more police officers and 83 more Special Neighbourhood Team officers than in 2011.
More than ever, he said people are picking up the telephone to report a crime rather than visit a police station, and the public have “already chosen” which police stations to keep open by voting on their feet.
The Assistant Commissioner for Territorial Policing, Simon Byrne, said Winchmore Hill Police Station sees an average of two people reporting crime each day.
Under the draft plan, Edmonton Police Station – which is the busiest front desk in London – will remain open for 24 hours a day as an average of 100 people report crimes daily.
Defending the possible closures, he said: “We have to make sure we are going where the public want us.”
The assistant commissioner said it costs the equivalent of 12 officers’ salaries to keep a front desk open, and it does not make “economic sense” to keep quiet front desks open at the cost of officers.
While defending the plans set out by the Mayor of London’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC), he added: “My phrase is buildings don’t catch burglars.”
The consultation into the mayor’s plans will run until March 6.