December 21 2013 Latest news:
Ian Weinfass, Senior reporter
Wednesday, January 9, 2013
Hornchurch police station, Rainham police office, and counters in Harold Hill and a Romford shopping centre may all be closed under new proposals.
Only Romford police station – out of existing Havering police sites where the public can visit to report crime – will definitely be retained.
The proposals are part of the Mayor of London’s draft police and crime plan which will now be subject to an eight-week consultation period.
The Met needs to save £514m from its £3.4bn budget by 2015.
More than 5,500 residents signed a petition to save Hornchurch police station last year, but their concerns appear not to have made a difference.
While the force has suggested that officers may be available in shops, the police’s presence at the Havering PASC, based in the Liberty shopping centre, is also earmarked to end.
Other facilities set to close are the counter at the Safer Neighbourhood Team (SNT) site in Straight Road, Harold Hill and the police office in Rainham.
A consultation event about the plans will be held at the Salvation Army Centre in Romford Thursday, Febuary 21 from 8pm-9pm.
Cllr Barbara Matthews (Residents’ Assocation, Hacton) said: “A one hour consultation on this plan? It’s an absolute joke.
“I don’t think they’ve taken into account the geography of an area, and they are planning to leave open the one station where you can’t park nearby?
“How are disabled residents supposed to visit the station?”
Dagenham and Rainham MP Jon Cruddas slammed the plans, adding: “I will ensure that local residents have their say in this consultation and make sure it is not a simple fait accompli, a stitch up, that threatens the protection of local residents, good quality neighbourhood policing and the ability of residents to report crime.
“I will make sure this is not just sneaked through the back door.”
Assistant Commissioner Simon Byrne said: “We are determined to be the best police service for London - that’s why we need to change. We will be putting more officers into local policing across the capital and devoting more to our Safer Neighbourhoods Teams.
“We are changing the emphasis of what we do. Neighbourhood policing will be the foundation of the service we provide.”
Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: “In the current economic climate there is no denying that tough decisions will have to be made but policing in the capital is changing and we must change with it by creating a police force that is ready to tackle the issues that matter most to Londoners.”
The Mayor’s Policing plan says that the number of police officers based in the borough will increase by 48 to 394 based on 2011 levels, with SNT officers increasing to 107 from 53 in 2011.
Other police sites not named in the report are believed to be unaffected.