Greenwich, Woolwich and Thamesmead to lose police stations despite borough's highest crime rates (From News Shopper)
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Greenwich, Woolwich and Thamesmead to lose police stations despite borough's highest crime rates
THREE police stations are set to shut - despite covering the areas with the highest crime rates in Greenwich borough.
Greenwich, Woolwich and Thamesmead stations are all earmarked for the axe after Mayor of London Boris Johnson announced plans to close front counters across the capital, selling some off to help make £60m in savings.
The proposals only guarantee one 24-hour station for each London borough, with Plumstead filling that role in Greenwich. Eltham station will run a daytime service.
However, the latest Met crime statistics from November show that the closures will affect the five Greenwich wards which saw the highest crime rates that month - Peninsula, Woolwich Riverside, Greenwich West, Thamesmead Moorings and Woolwich Common.
Andrew Lakka, 48, a Woolwich housing company director who has been campaigning against anti-social behaviour in the area, said the plans would only work if more police were on the beat and they changed their attitude.
He pointed out Woolwich also saw the worst of the area's rioting during the violence that engulfed the capital in August 2011.
Mr Lakka said: "What's important is having officers on the street. The biggest problem with the police force now and the reasons the riots came about was because police are unsociable.
"You can't ask a police officer what time it is without getting attitude back."
Greenwich Council cabinet member for community safety Councillor Maureen O'Mara said: "The proposals show a cut in the number of officers from 2010 of 78 officers."
She added: "We are not clear yet how residents will be able to access police services if stations close and how Mr Johnson can justify a lower police head count than existed just over two years ago."
A meeting on the proposals will take place at the University of Greenwich on January 29 from 8pm to 9pm.
To join in the consultation, visit london.gov.uk/mopac
A spokeswoman for Greenwich police said: "Thamesmead is not a police station but a Safer Neighbourhoods base with a front counter - officers from the Thamesmead Mooring Safer Neighbourhoods team are likely to remain in the premises in Joyce Dawson Way and will continue to police Thamesmead in the same way they do now - it is the front counter facility that has been put forward for closure.
"Woolwich and Greenwich are old, inadequate stations and expensive to run - at a time where police are being asked to make exceptional savings, it makes sense to look at these properties and their functions.
"The majority of response teams, investigative teams and members of staff are based across our stations in Plumstead, Eltham and our Patrol Base in Charlton.
"Officers and local policing team will continue to patrol Thamesmead, Woolwich and Greenwich in the same way that they do at present, regardless of whether there will be a local police station. If the plans are approved, officers are likely to be decanted in key locations across the areas they patrol.
"We have also recently purchased a mobile police station, which will allow us to easily move across the borough and provide high visibility. We are also exploring options around the possibility of a base in the Greenwich area by co-locating with partners."
According to the Met, just 1.2 crimes per day on average are reported at Greenwich, 1.1 at Thamesmead and five at Woolwich.
The spokeswoman said: "In addition to the round-the-clock counter in Plumstead, counters such as Eltham, with opening hours more reflective of public demand, will remain in service and we plan to create a number of other contact points to allow the public to seek out help in places more convenient to them."
Crimes in November - 177
Crime rate (per 1,000 people) - 17.43
Crimes in November - 205
Crime rate - 16.06
Crimes in November - 145
Crime rate - 12.91
Crimes in November - 123
Crime rate - 10.46
Crimes in November - 152
Crime rate - 10.16
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