Future Of Merton Policing Up For Debate

Local public meeting as part of Mayor's crime strategy

The future of Wimbledon and Mitcham police stations, as well as policing numbers across Merton will be discussed at a public meeting.

London's Deputy Mayor, Stephen Greenhalgh, will be hosting the meeting at the Civic Centre in Morden on February 26.

He will be unveiling Boris Johnson's strategy on crime for the next four years, including driving down costs. Met Assistant Commissioner Simon Byrne will also be attending.

Merton's council leader Stephen Alambritis has already written to Mr Greenhalgh saying he would not support any moves to close Wimbledon or Mitcham police stations. He is also against any move to share a police borough commander with neighbouring Sutton and wants the number of police officers and PCSOs in the borough to be maintained.

Councillor Alambritis has also said he'd be keen to work with the police on exploring the use of the borough's buildings, such as the Civic Centre or libraries, for Safer Neighbourhood Offices.

He said: "I welcome the Mayor's pledges to maintain police numbers in the capital and to boost neighbourhood policing. We expect these mayoral commitments to mean that we will maintain both our main police stations at Wimbledon and Mitcham."

Mr Greenhalgh, Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime, said: "Policing in the capital is changing and we want to hear the views of Londoners. In these challenging economic times, tough decisions will have to be made but ultimately we want to boost public confidence in the police, cut crime, and drive down waste. To do this we need to get more officers out on the streets and be smarter about the how we use police buildings including police stations and custody suites."

The meeting takes place in the Council Chamber on February 26. Doors open at 5.30pm, with the meeting due to start at 6pm and last for an hour.

Londonwide Labour London Assembly Member Fiona Twycross has criticised the hour-long slot alloted for the consultation. There is one for each borough.

She said: "The Police and Crime Consultation will only last one hour and Boris' Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime intends on packing in two of these sessions every night. This is a complete sham and doesn't give residents enough time to digest the plans and comment on all of the areas that will be covered.

"This is a deliberate strategy to push through plans that the Mayor has already made – we have already seen the loss of 32 officers since May 2010. There is still no information on how residents will be able to find out what the plans are for Merton's policing are before the meeting, which is not good enough.

"I will be attending this consultation session and I encourage all residents to attend this consultation session and exercise their right be heard about how they want policing in London to look in the future. This is their chance to make their voices heard."

What do you think? Why not comment on our forum?

December 28, 2012