Campaign launched to fight Met's police plans
An area of London bigger than a number of counties could be left with no police stations open to the public at night.
Sister papers the Wandsworth, Croydon, Sutton, Wimbledon and Streatham Guardians are joining forces to ask the Mayor, Boris Johnson, to veto Metropolitan police’s plans to expose an approximately 75 square mile area to being without an evening police station.
This huge area comprises Mitcham, Tooting, Earlsfield, Balham, Streatham, Thornton Heath, Norbury, Norwood, Dulwich, Forest Hill, Sydenham, Beckenham, and Catford.
It is one-ninth the size of London, spanning Merton, Wandsworth, Sutton, Croydon, Lambeth and Southwark - nearly double the size of central Manchester.
Plans revealed this month, by Mr Johnson’s office for policing and crime, detailed how each London borough would only have one 24-hour police station, with the exception of Westminster.
Of the fifteen police stations currently within the 75 sq mile zone, six will be downgraded from 24-hours into daytime only, while nine will be closed to the public altogether.
1. Norbury 2. South Norwood 3. Cavendish Road 4. Gipsy Hill 5. Morden 6. Tooting 7. East Dulwich 8. Sydenham 9. Brockley 10. Streatham High Street 11. Mitcham 12. Wandsworth 13. Catford 14. Copperfield House 15. West Wickham 16. Wimbledon 17. Croydon 18. Sutton 19. Lewisham 20. Bromley 21. Brixton 22. Lavender Hill 23. Peckham
In Wandsworth, plans are in place to close front desks at Jubilee House, in Putney Bridge Road and Battersea Police Station, in Battersea Bridge Road.
Tooting Police Station, in Mitcham Road, is also to close while Wandsworth Police Station, in Wandsworth High Street, will be downgraded from a 24 hour front desk to day time only.
Lavender Hill Police Station is being changed to having a 24 hour front desk.
There will be neighbourhood teams covering the 20 wards, with a dedicated officer deployed to each ward as well as 15 extra officers compared to October 2011.
The plan would still leave Wandsworth with 35 officers less than it had in 2010, when there was an average of 614 officers.
Borough Commander Chief Superintendent David Chinchen said: "As a borough resident, I am well aware of the concerns that may arise regarding the police presence in any particular area.
"As we increase the numbers of officers working in the neighbourhood teams, their hours of cover will increase to ensure presence to 2am between Thursday and Saturday.
"This represents more officers working later at night in addition to the 24/7 mobile patrol units that are based at Earlsfield and cover the whole borough currently."
He said it is likely some buildings would close eventually and replaced with more modern facilities, but operational officers will be based in each police station for the time being.
Boris Johnson and the Met’s Commissioner, Bernard Hogan-Howe, intend to sign off on the final plan before April 2013 and roll out the changes by the 2016/17 financial year.
Consultation on the plans is under way, with a public meeting set to take place on February 26 in Wandsworth Town Hall Civic Suite, Wandsworth High Street attended by the Mayor’s deputy mayor for policing, Stephen Greenhalgh.