Boris slammed over proposals to close police stations in Newham
PUBLISHED: 11:50 22 January 2013 | UPDATED: 11:57 22 January 2013
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Boris Johnson has been slammed over his proposals to close two of the five police stations in Newham during a fierce exchange with the borough’s London Assembly Member at City Hall.
John Biggs, who represents the City and East constituency that includes Newham, slated the controversial plans as going “too far, too fast”.
As reported in the Recorder last week, Stratford and North Woolwich police stations have both been earmarked for the chop.
City Hall bosses and police chiefs are set to attend a series of public meetings in every London borough as part of a consultation process on the Met’s attempt to slash £500million from its budget by 2016, and they will be in Newham next month.
Mr Biggs, who criticised the mayor during a question and answer session at City Hall last Wednesday (January 16), said: “I challenged Boris on his planned cuts to the police and reminded him of his commitment that no front counter would close unless an equivalent replacement had been identified.
“Unsurprisingly he did not give me a straight answer to this.
“He is cutting too far, too fast and is hitting the frontline. On top of this he is stripping back our local Safer Neighbourhood Police Teams - this will mean fewer locally based police officers.”
The borough has already “lost” 46 officers since 2010, he added.
But a spokeswoman for the Mayor of London insisted it’s impossible to compare like-for-like policing numbers because of changes to how officers are assigned and counted – and said the proposals will actually result in 114 extra officers in Newham.
She added Mr Johnson wants to “put bobbies before buildings” and added: “We are proposing some front counter closures, but we’re open to creative solutions about how we can improve public access to the police. Over the next two months we will be visiting every borough in London to hear what people have to say about the plan.”
• The Newham public meeting is due to take place on Monday, February 11, from 6pm, at Stratford Old Town Hall, The Broadway. Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime, Stephen Greenhalgh, and Assistant Commissioner, Simon Byrne, will be there. Visit www.london.gov.uk/mopac for more information.