Local Police Stations Set To Close

Brentford, Chiswick and Ealing under threat from Met’s 'modernisation' programme

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The Metropolitan Police Service have responded to but have not denied claims made in the Evening Standard that Chiswick and Brentford police stations are set to close and that Ealing police station is under threat of closure stating “no decisions have yet been made”.

A Met spokesperson said the article “entirely misrepresents the MPS and the Metropolitan Police Authority's plans for modernising our buildings. No police stations with front counters are being closed without another front counter service replacing it.”

The story, published in Monday’s Standard, stated that Scotland Yard was ‘planning to sell off dozens of ageing and Victorian stations and replace them with "front counters" in shops and offices’ and that officers will be located in "patrol bases" on industrial estates rather than police stations.’

The Met’s spokesperson said, “The fact is that many of our officers and staff continue to be working from unsuitable and inadequate buildings that simply do not meet the needs of policing London in the 21st century or provide value in the use of resources. This is being improved by a rolling programme of work which is being done with a high level of public consultation specifically designed to ensure modernisation is achieved in tandem with bringing police closer to the public.”

He continued “Where patrol bases are in operation they are welcomed by officers and staff because they provide what they deserve - accessible modern working conditions.”
However, the Standard article disputes this statement claiming that the decision taken four years ago to sell part of the Met’s property portfolio is opposed by officers who ‘fear it could lead to police losing touch with the public’.

However, Police Commissioner Sir Ian Blair takes a different view believing that the force has to deal with buildings which are impractical for modern technology. He told the Standard, "Well in excess of 90 per cent of our contact with the public is not at a police station, it is by phone. We have guaranteed that we will always have a 24-hour police station open in every borough in London. Something in excess of 40 per cent of our structures date to before the Second World War. They are extremely expensive to maintain and very far from green.

"We have to recognise that the vast amount of contact is now by phone and increasingly by internet. Every cop who is standing in the police station is not in the street."

Commenting on the proposed closures, Chiswick's Inspector Dave Osbourne said, "As far as I am aware there are no definite plans to close any police stations in this borough, that includes Chiswick.

"Public consultation has taken place over several months and the results have been fed back to the MPA.

"The situation we have at present is far from satisfactory and it is clear that a balance will have to be struck between 21st century facilities and providing a permanent 24 hour police presence in Chiswick and the other town centres in the borough."

June 11, 2008