Politicians and councillors back police station campaign
Your Local Guardian is campaigning to save police stations in South London after it emerged an area measuring about 75 miles squared - larger than any individual London borough - would be left without a 24 hour station.
This week politicians and councillors have backed the campaign.
MP for Tooting Sadiq Khan said: "I support the Guardian’s campaign against the Mayor of London’s plans to close police stations in Wandsworth.
"Victims of crime, witnesses with information, residents with useful intelligence, members of the public wanting crime prevention advice and many others will not be able to attend a local police station and won’t make the journey for miles to their nearest open police station.
"The Guardian is right to campaign on this issue, and as the MP for Tooting I will be working hard to fight these proposed cuts and closures to our local police service"
Opposition councillor and Labour spokeswoman for Crime and Community safety, Councillor Leonie Cooper, also showed her support.
She said: "These appalling proposals were deliberately hidden by Boris Johnson and the Conservatives during the election in May 2012.
"I would strongly encourage all local people to support the Guardian's campaign, and to come to the Civic Suite to the consultation meeting on February 26 and make your views known."
The exposed area includes Mitcham, Tooting, Earlsfield, Balham, Streatham, Thornton Heath, Norbury, Norwood, Dulwich, Forest Hill, Sydenham, Beckenham, and Catford.
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 daytime only.
Across the border in Merton, where Mitcham police station is to be closed to the public at night, politicians have also joined the campaign.
Leader of Merton Council, Coun Stephen Alambritis, said: "I am deeply concerned about the Mayor of London's proposals to downgrade Mitcham police station.
"In addition I want to express my strong support for comprehensively resourced policing in all of south London.
"I believe that fully operational police stations are an important deterrent against those intent on committing crimes in our communities."
Siobhain McDonagh, the MP for Mitcham and Morden, said: "I appreciate Merton borough commander Darren Williams is in a difficult position but I am also concerned that the local safer neighbourhood team offices in Lavender Hill, Pollards Hill and Green Lane St Helier are going."
MP for Streatham Chuka Umunna said: "The irrational, excessive and unnecessary cuts that the Liberal Democrat and Conservative Parties are making to our Police service make a mockery of all the promises that their campaigners made on Law and Order before the general election and are inevitably leading to police in our community being less visible and less accessible than the local community both expects and deserves."
A public meeting is 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.
Mr Johnson and the Met’s Commissioner, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, intend to sign off on the final plan before April and roll out the changes by 2016.
The new policing plan designed to save £500m has been supported by some politicians.
Richard Tracey, GLA member for Merton and Wandsworth said: "More than half of the UK’s police forces have had no 24 hour stations for years.
"The number of crimes reported by phone or internet has markedly increased, while those reported at a station has significantly reduced.
"Indeed, some London front counters open after midnight do not receive any customers. Ask how many readers actually contact the police by going into a station in the day, let alone at night.
"Why spend huge sums on empty 24 hour police stations? The Mayor wants to spend this money on increasing the number of officers on our streets. There will be 79 more officers in local SNT policing in Wandsworth by 2015 than in 2011 and 49 more officers in Merton. However Merton and Wandsworth will each still retain their own 24 hour station alongside an additional daytime station each."
MP for Battersea Jane Ellison said: "Whilst the vast majority of people now contact the police in very different ways to a generation ago, the need for effective, visible policing is unchanging.
"If these proposed changes mean fewer police officers tied to a desk and more officers fighting crime in Battersea that is a positive step."
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