Havering Council leader calls for legal action over ‘short-sighted’ police station closure plan
PUBLISHED: 18:00 07 November 2017 | UPDATED: 12:03 08 November 2017
The leader of Havering Council has called for legal action over the “deeply flawed” public consultation held about now-approved plans to close Rainham and Hornchurch police stations.
Last week, the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC) announced that after a 12-week consultation, plans to close Rainham and Hornchurch Police Stations along with seven Safer Neighbourhood Team bases would go ahead.
Councillor Roger Ramsey, who described himself as “utterly disappointed” in the decision, has since met with the Deputy Mayor for Policing, Sophie Linden and lobbied to save the borough’s public access points.
Cllr Ramsey said the outcome of the MOPAC consultation was “unacceptable” to a borough like Havering facing large levels of population growth.
“This is why we will be looking into a legal challenge,” he added.
“This is a short-sighted decision that will leave residents in the south of the borough with the need to travel to Romford for a police station in the borough with a front desk service.”
The Consultation Institute has questioned the validity of MOPAC’s approach during the 12 weeks, claiming its approach was “deeply flawed” with “leading questions biased to elicit a particular answer” and failed to seek “any demographic data to understand who responds”.
Cllr Ramsey went on: “This means that our residents’ voices have not been taken into consideration, which questions the purpose of this consultation as it seems a decision had already been made.
“The council has offered to provide space for police use in outlying areas and will stick to that whatever happens.
“I urge local residents to send their comments to their local MPs, who I would encourage to raise this issue in Parliament.”
In a joint foreword to the finalised plans which were published late last month, Sophie Linden, deputy mayor for policing and crime, and Cressida Dick, Metropolitan Police commissioner, stressed their “first priority is keeping Londoners safe”.
They said: “Our investment in front line policing, and the equipment needed for a 21st century police force, is made possible by selling expensive to run buildings – many of which only support ‘back-office’ activity – which are underused or no longer needed.”