Wandsworth Police Station Could Become Part-Time

As part of Met Police's £500m savings proposals

Wandsworth Police Station, which is currently manned 24 hours a day, could become part time after a leaked report shows nearly half the police stations in London now permanently manned would be cut to part-time or closed completely.

Each borough - apart from Westminster - would be left with one 24-hour police station as part of Metropolitan Police proposals to save £500m.

Sixty police stations in the capital would be closed, leaving thirty three 24-hour police stations operating in London. There would also be 33 part-time stations (a reduction from 52) and five volunteer stations (a reduction from 17). Westminster, which currently has six 24-hour stations, would see that number cut to two.

In addition there are plans for seven new 'contact points' - these are thought to be 'desks' within coffee shops, libraries, cinemas and supermarkets.

The Met, which has already announced plans to close New Scotland Yard, needs to save £500m from its £3.6m budget to meet Government spending targets. The report detailing the proposals has been leaked to the Evening Standard newspaper.

It states there has been a 20 per cent fall in front counter visits over four years and the stations earmarked for closure are the least used in London

Chief Superintendent David Chinchen, Wandsworth Borough Commander told WandsworthSW18.com:"You will be aware that the Commissioner has highlighted previously the need to make changes in our arrangements for public access. The world has moved on somewhat since we first established police stations, police boxes (The 'Doctor Who' Tardis) and the 999 system to ensure that people could get the help they needed when they needed it.

The reality is that the number of people visiting police stations has dropped significantly as they can now contact us in many other ways. We have undertaken to send an officer to anyone who reports a crime and contact can be made with local officers through 101 or dedicated numbers and e-mail addresses for Safer Neighbourhood Teams.

In addition, we have continued to develop the practice of conducting regular surgeries and meetings that are publicised on the website. Next year we are enhancing this element of public access by designating seven Public Contact Points. We are asking people to give us views on where and what times these should occur to best suit the varied needs of the public in Wandsworth.

He continued:"I and my officers have had a number of conversations with people across the Borough over recent weeks on this subject. This is not about the closure of police stations. We are proposing that the hours of service at Lavender Hill Police Station should be extended to 24 hours a day and that the front counter at Wandsworth Police Station should staffed for 40 hours per week. The front counters at Battersea, Tooting and Putney high street would close but officers will continue to be deployed at each of those sites and patrol from them each day.

To be clear, no decisions have been made and the Mayors Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC) will be undertaking further public engagement events commencing in the new year. A meeting held by MOPAC is planned for Wandsworth on 26 February 2013 at 8.00pm in the Civic Suite at Wandsworth Town Hall to discuss these and other policing developments."

London Assembly Member for Wandsworth, Richard Tracey, said:"The Met Police are having to make savings following the Spending Review as a result of the grim economic state of the nation which the Coalition inherited in 2010. There has been much examination of the estates needs of the Met Police across London, but the most important thing to highlight is that 2000 more PCs will be coming on to our London streets including Wandsworth over the next year. Those extra police officers will be paid for by economies in the police estate and by lowering numbers of senior police officers who will be retiring and not being replaced."

The Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime, Stephen Greenhalgh, is set to host a series of town hall public meetings in every borough in London, including one in Wandsworth on 26 February 2013, to set out the Mayor's strategy for reducing crime in the capital over the next four years. Assistant Commissioner for Territorial Policing, Simon Byrne will be in attendance.

A spokesman said a decision will be taken next March.

January 2, 2013