Merton Leader Protests Over Wimbledon Police Station Closure Threat

Letter calls for Government re-think over Met Police cutbacks

Merton Council Leader Stephen Alambritis has written to the Home Secretary, Amber Rudd to demand a halt to the Government's £1billion in cuts to the funding for the Metropolitan police.

Councillor Alambritis has also written to the Mayor of London opposing the proposed closure of Wimbledon Police station as a result of these government cuts and demanding that both Merton police stations, in Wimbledon and in Mitcham, are retained.

The Metropolitan Police has seen its funding cut by £600m as part of the government’s austerity agenda and now faces a further £400m in cuts up until 2021, a total of £1bn in cuts overall.

The letter from Councillor Alambritis to the Home Secretary states: “The recent general election showed that the public are losing patience with your government’s austerity agenda which has done nothing to make the country more financially stable. It is now time for you to look again at this £1bn cut to police funding and to instead commit your government to adequately funding the work our brave police staff do in keeping us safe.”

Stephen AlambritisCouncillor Alambritis (left) says he’s particularly worried about the impact of the government’s cuts on neighbourhood policing which has a vital intelligence gathering role, key to the capital’s counter terrorism strategy. 

The letter to the Home Secretary states: “Our residents will be particularly concerned that, at a time when we rely so much on the Met police to protect us from new and worrying terrorist threats, you would slash funding to such an extent.  As I am sure you are aware, neighbourhood policing and the vital intelligence that arises from this is one of the key planks in our counter terrorism work.  Neighbourhood policing is funded through the general policing budget and it is likely to be severely damaged by these cuts.”

Councillor Alambritis has also written to the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan. This letter states: “The proposals for Merton involve closing Wimbledon police station, a much used station which is well situated in the town centre in an area where crime and anti social behaviour related to the night time economy is an issue. Additionally, the annual Wimbledon Tennis Championships require a significant police presence and rely on a nearby police station for processing of crimes.” 

The council is also clear that in Mitcham having a police presence is important in keeping people safe in an area where residents have said they feel less safe after dark compared with other areas of the borough.

Merton Council last month agreed a motion which slammed the government’s cuts to police funding in the capital and expressed support for both local police stations remaining open.

The council also recognised the Mayor of London’s condemnation of the failure to properly resource policing in the capital and the concern raised by Met Police Commissioner Cressida Dick that London’s police service is particularly stretched in light of terror attacks.

Councillor Alambritis said: “At a time of increasing threat to Londoners the last thing the government be should be doing is cutting the funding to the Met police who are already under such pressure to keep us safe.

“I am calling on the Home Secretary Amber Rudd to put an end to her cuts to the Met police and give the Mayor of London the funding he needs to keep both Wimbledon and Mitcham police stations open for business.”

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October 24, 2017

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