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University lecturer says police station closures will allow violent crime in London to ‘become more commonplace’

PUBLISHED: 17:15 11 April 2018 | UPDATED: 17:24 11 April 2018

Paul Kohler believes he survived because of officers at his local police station. Pic: Paul Kohler

Paul Kohler believes he survived because of officers at his local police station. Pic: Paul Kohler

Archant

A university lecturer who survived a brutal attack said violent crime will become the norm in London unless proposals to close half the city’s police stations are reversed.

Axed stations in east London and Essex

Barkingside

Brick Lane

Hornchurch

Limehouse

Plaistow

Rainham

Stratford

Paul Kohler made the prediction today as he was granted a judicial review of proposals to shut 38 of the capital’s 73 police front counters including seven in east London and Essex.

The 58-year-old will now take his fight to the High Court.

Paul was left with severe facial injuries after a group of burglars raided his home in Wimbledon in 2014.

He believes that the only reason he survived the attack is because police officers were able to get to his house from the local station in Wimbledon within eight minutes of the 999 call made by his daughter.

Paul Kohler was beaten up by a gang of burglars. Pic: Paul Kohler Paul Kohler was beaten up by a gang of burglars. Pic: Paul Kohler

The School of Oriental and African Studies University professor said: “I do not believe Sadiq Khan, is addressing that issue by closing local police stations and removing officers from the communities they police.

“I predict the level of violence we are currently witnessing will become more commonplace as communities suffer by not having locally based officers with locally based knowledge who know the issues of a particular area and can often intervene before problems escalate.”

His challenge to the closures is based on a claim that the public consultation over the plans was legally flawed because not enough information was given to the public, and their responses were not properly considered.

Paul’s solicitor Tessa Gregory from Leigh Day, said: “In the interests of all Londoners Paul is pleased that a judge will now consider the legality of the original decision and hopes that in the fullness of time a more considered and thoughtful approach, which keeps the streets of the capital safe, can be found.”

The Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime said following legal advice it did not object to the application for a judicial review “in order to draw this matter to a close as quickly as possible”.

It said it is “committed to robustly defending these claims and the consultation process”.

Mr Kohler is crowdfunding his legal battle with the judicial review due to be heard in June.

To make a donation visit crowdjustice.com/case/save-londons-police-stations

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