Mitcham police station to be downgraded under plans
Wimbledon police station will remain open on a 24-hour basis, despite a series of cost-cutting proposals unveiled by the Mayor of London.
The capital-wide plans, now going out to consultation, will see Mitcham police station downgraded to a day-time only service.
There are also claims that Merton will have 37 fewer police officers than it did in 2010.
Merton's council leader Stephen Alambritis had already written to London's Deputy Mayor Mr Greenhalgh saying he would not support any moves to close Wimbledon or Mitcham police stations.
He 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.
The Metropolitan Police is reported to have a £500 million budget gap and the closure of some stations in the capital will go some way to balancing the books. Plans to move the HQ from New Scotland Yard to smaller premises have already been announced. The Met's current stock of nearly 500 buildings costs £203m a year to run. Around 200 of the least used buildings are to be closed under the plans.
Sixty-five of London's 136 front counters are to close. Senior officers have argued that most people no longer visit a police station to report crime as more use is being made of the phone or the internet. There has been a 20 per cent fall in counter visits over the last four years. Across the whole of London, less than 50 crimes a night are now reported at front counters in police stations. It is argued that new contact points will make officers more accessible and provide a greater amount of face-to-face contact with the public.
The Met has already guaranteed that every victim of crime in London will get a personal visit from the police, should they want one, and local people will be asked to help identify new locations for crime prevention desks and police bureaus where they can meet the police face-to-face.
The 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."
Labour Londonwide Assembly Member Fiona Twycross said: "In Merton we will have 37 police officers fewer than in 2010, and that's if the Mayor can actually deliver on his proposals which I don't think he can.
"To make matters worse this proposed plan details how the Mayor will strip out our local Safer Neighbourhood Teams which are vital in fighting crime in London. SNTs build local knowledge and get to know their patch, the proposals today look very much like a return to the old model of sector policing which does not have this strong local link. The Mayor’s plans will also see a loss of many experienced senior officers, which raises obvious concerns about the supervision of police constables."
A public meeting about the plans, with Stephen Greenhalgh Met Assistant Commissioner Simon Byrne attending, will take place at the Civic Centre in Morden on February 26. Doors open at 5.30pm, with the meeting due to start at 6pm and last for an hour.
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January 10, 2013