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News Shopper campaigning to save south London police stations
AN AREA of London bigger than Liechtenstein could be left with no police stations open to the public at night.
News Shopper is joining forces with its sister newspapers across south London, to ask the Mayor, Boris Johnson, to veto Met police plans to expose an approximately 75 square mile area to being without an evening police station.
This huge area comprises Forest Hill, Sydenham, Beckenham, and Catford, Mitcham, Tooting, Earlsfield, Balham, Streatham, Thornton Heath, Norbury, Norwood and Dulwich.
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 15 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.
In Bromley, plans are in place to close front desks at Orpington and Biggin Hill.
This is part of the Met’s overall target of £514m savings by 2015 as detailed in Boris Johnson’s draft Police and Crime Plan.
If this proposal is approved Biggin Hill Community Police Office will no longer be open for two hours every week day for people to report crime.
Instead the Met is said to be in discussions with Bromley Council about having a PCSO stationed at the town’s swimming pool and library complex for an hour a week.
And the Met is also talking to Bromley Council about a suitable location for people to visit to report crime if Orpington police station is closed and sold.
Speaking after the announcement was made Bromley’s borough commander Chief Superintendent Steph Roberts said: “Public access to policing services has changed considerably in recent years.
“The introduction of the 101 non-emergency number and our ability to diary appointments for members of the public, coupled with internet access, means greater flexibility to access our services.
“The impact is that there has been a 20% decrease in the number of crimes reported to front counters in four years.
“The MPS is considering replacing under-used front counters across London with new contact points - either part of our estate, somewhere shared with partners or other public places - which would increase the amount of face-to-face contact we have with the public.
“The front counters at Orpington and Biggin Hill, which currently open for a combined total of 16 hours a week, are the two we propose to close in the borough of Bromley.
“We are looking at replacing them with new contact points in Biggin Hill Library and The Walnuts.
“Bromley Police Station will continue to provide access for the public 24 hours a day, seven days a week."
Boris Johnson and the Met’s Commissioner, Bernard Hogan-Howe, intend to sign off on the final plan before April and roll out the changes by the 2016/17 financial year.
To sign the petition visit ipetitions.com/petition/frontdesk-closures