Labour Blames Tory Cuts For Closure Of Local Police Station

But Borough Commander says there are no firm plans for closure

Only weeks after Wandsworth Conservative councillors accused Labour of ‘scaremongering’ about police cuts, the closure of Lavender Hill police station has now been mooted.

This comes on top of concerns already raised by Wandsworth Labour about cuts to Safer Neighbourhood Teams, and to parks police.

The police station is close to the epicentre of some of the worst of last summer’s rioting, and neighbours one of the busiest train stations in the country. Labour are concerned that the safety of the local community is being put at risk by the Conservative programme of cuts to the police.

Cllr Leonie Cooper, Wandsworth Labour spokesperson for community safety, said: "The Metropolitan Police need to come clean on which stations they are planning to sell off, and engage in a full consultation with the local community before any decisions are taken. Labour councillors wholeheartedly disagree with any plans to close Lavender Hill police station, which is just meters away from one of the areas worst affected by last summer's riots.

"Wandsworth Council now needs to show some leadership on this issue - helping to protect our local police stations and standing up for the residents of the Borough. Sadly nationally, the Conservative-led government's 20 per cent cuts to policing are going too far and too fast, and are already having a damaging impact on forces across the country, like here in Wandsworth.

“Labour remains committed to prioritising policing, keeping bobbies on the beat and protecting the public."

Chief Superintendent David Chinchen, Wandsworth Borough Commander told "The MPS will routinely review its estate in order to ensure that we maximise its use for the provision of the policing service in London. Some of our police buildings are expensive to run and not suited to the demands of a twenty-first century police service. The future of a number of police stations will always be subject to review on this basis. The delivery of an effective policing service in the Borough is reliant upon a range of buildings that are appropriately located to support the need for emergency response, neighbourhood policing and our Investigative teams. My view as Borough Commander is always sought as part of any consideration to changes to the MPS estate in the Borough."

He continued: "At this time, Lavender Hill Police Station is not subject to any firm plans for closure. The building houses a number of Safer Neighbourhood Teams together with the Safer Transport Teams for the Borough. There are no alternative accommodation options for these teams in the locality or indeed elsewhere on the Borough. The Police Station also offers a limited front counter service which is now supplemented by regular SNT surgeries and a commitment since April this year for police attendance to investigate all crimes notified to us by phone or e-mail."

"Whilst I cannot provide certainty that we will operate a policing service from the same buildings in the future, I can give my absolute assurance that I will have the necessary accommodation to deliver an effective policing service in the Borough."

September 4, 2012