Met Police confirm review of Merton's operational requirements is underway
By Tara O'Connor, Local Democracy Reporter
There could still be a glimmer of hope that Wimbledon Police Station might stay open.
The station is earmarked to be sold but campaigner and Lib Dem Councillor, Paul Kohler, believes it could remain open long-term.
He successfully challenged the Mayor of London’s decision to close the station in the High Court last year, which halted the closure.
Lord Justice Lindblom and Mr Justice Lewis stated that the consultation process in this case was not conducted well.
Mr Kohler started his fight to save the station after he survived a brutal beating in 2014. And he thinks he only survived because police officers were able to get to his house quickly from the Wimbledon station.
Chief Superintendent Sally Benatar issued a statement at a Merton Council meeting last week.
She said: “The intention set out in our consultation document in 2017 was for Mitcham police station to be the 24/7 front counter location and the response parade site for Merton borough, with Earlsfield police station remaining the response parade site for Wandsworth borough, and with Wimbledon police station to be sold.
“After 11 months experience of working at greater scale across the boroughs, it has been identified that there is a need to review the operational implications of continuing to operate with two separate response parade sites for Merton and Wandsworth, as opposed to having a shared parade site covering both boroughs. This internal review is now taking place.”
While she did not directly reference Wimbledon, Mr Kohler believes the review will provide an opportunity to restate the case for retaining the police station.
He had also ‘strongly urged’ Ch Supt Benatar look at Wimbledon as part of the review.
“I know from personal experience how important Wimbledon Police Station is to keep our neighbourhoods safe,” said Mr Kohler.
“My successful legal action to halt the closure of Wimbledon police station has given our local police the breathing space they desperately needed to reconsider how police resources are used across the two boroughs.
“This review will provide an important opportunity to consider more imaginative approaches to the provision of police resources across the two boroughs, and I am confident that it will establish the importance of preserving our police station here in Wimbledon.
“The case for retaining Wimbledon Police Station is a strong one, as I have stressed repeatedly in my representations to the Mayor of London and local police chiefs.”
Picture above shows Paul Kohler (left) campaigning to save Wimbledon police station. Credit: Merton Lib Dems.
May 2, 2019