Newham Mayor brands police and fire station closures outrageous
- Credit: Archant
Newham Mayor Sir Robin Wales has branded plans to leave Stratford without a police station outrageous as nearly half of Newham’s five police stations are earmarked for closure.
Sir Wales also condemned a proposal to axe North Woolwich police station, coinciding with separate plans to close Silvertown Fire Station, as unacceptable, and vowed to write to Boris Johnson.
Forest Gate Police Station becomes the only station with a 24 hour front counter under the proposals by the London Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC), the body overseeing the Met’s £3.6bn budget and annual targets.
Plaistow Police Stations will also be kept, alongside a station in East Ham despite the current building being disposed off, as part of plans to slash £500million from the Met over the next three years.
Sir Robin said: “The proposal to close both North Woolwich Police Station and Silvertown Fire Station is outrageous and unacceptable, as is any proposal to leave Stratford without a police station.
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“Ours is the fastest growing borough in the country while both the Docks and Stratford are major areas of regeneration, with rapidly expanding population and business development.
“I have written to the Mayor of London on behalf of residents and local businesses to demand reassurance that safety and security in Newham will not be sacrificed for the benefit of better off boroughs. This is not special pleading, it is simply a recognition of the facts.”
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East Ham MP Stephen Timms said the cuts are “disappointing” but welcomed the retention of a police station in East Ham.
Mr Timms said: “We know it won’t be in the current location, because that building is to be sold, so I plan to discuss possible alternative locations with the Borough Police Commander.”
But despite the cuts the MOPAC says a restructuring of the Met will cut senior managers and increase bobbies on the beat over the next two years. In Newham that will mean 836 officers by 2015 compared to 765 in the current year.
A spokeswoman for Boris Johnson said: “The Mayor has made the decision to put bobbies before buildings, making police more visible and available. His draft plan will see 114 more officers working in Safer Neighbourhood Teams across Newham than in 2011. We are proposing some front counter closures but we’re open to creative solutions about how we can improve public access to the police.”
But London Assembly member John Biggs, representing Newham, said the Met have lost 2,208 police officers across London and 46 police officers in Newham since May 2010.
Mr Biggs said: “With a proposed £75.8million reduction in the Police Officer Wage bill next year this number could reduce even more.”