May 19 2013 Latest news:
Ian Weinfass, Senior reporter
Tuesday, March 12, 2013
The average resident will have a 41 minute journey to a police station under plans to close most of the borough’s front counters to the public, it has been claimed.
London Assembly member Jenny Jones (Green, London-wide) highlighted figures showing that Havering residents will have the second longest journeys in London by public transport to a police station if proposals are passed.
The current average time is 24 minutes, the average nighttime journey will increase from 56 minutes to 76 minutes.
Only Romford police station – out of existing Havering police sites where the public can visit to report crime – is due to remain open under the Mayor of London’s current plan.
The Met Police needs to save £514m from its £3.4bn budget by 2015.
The consultation period on the plan has now closed, but Ms Jones believes that residents were not fully aware of what the proposals would mean.
Hornchurch police station, the Straight Road police counter in Harold Hill, Rainham police office and the police counter in the Havering PASC in Romford are earmarked for closurer.
Calling for a second consultation, she said: “There has not been enough information provided to Londoners about how the Mayor’s proposals will affect them.
“It is really difficult for Londoners to be properly involved in a decision about closing front counters if they have no idea about whether these savings are essential and what the alternatives would cost.
“We know a quarter of all rapes are reported to front counters, but what other crimes are reported to them?”
The Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC) said that they had had a “fantastic response” to the consultation and will be publishing the final plan by the end of this month.
Deputy mayor for policing Stephen Greenhalgh told Ms Jones at a recent meeting: “I will look at your figures, but I would suggest that what matters to people is how quickly police can get to you rather than how quickly you can walk to a police station.
“Putting bobbies before buildings is the way to go.”
On Monday of last week a meeting was held at the Salvation Army Centre in High Street, Romford, to discuss the plans.
Cllr Barbara Matthews (Residents’ Association, Hacton), who helped organise a petition of 5,500 people opposed to the closure of Hornchurch police station, said: “A lot of people are convinced that they’ve already decided, so the turn out wasn’t that great.”