Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Streatham Police Station to close

On Monday last week (25th March) the Mayor of London gave his final verdict following the consultation on policing for Lambeth which ended on 6th March. The consultation kicked off in February with a public meeting in Lambeth which I attended along with London Assembly members.

The consultation arose from the Mayor's drive to cut 20% from the police budget. It involves the centralisation of policing and cuts to Safer Neighbourhood Teams down to one police officer and one Police Community Support Officer.

I met with the Borough Commander several weeks ago and put the case for more police for Streatham. While it seems he has the power to place more police locally, he also insists that he is constrained by the model being imposed upon him. Unfortunately the campaign by Lambeth Council for "100 more police officers" appears to have been a waste of £180,000 as it was launched too late to influence the Mayor's decision. Both Lambeth Council and local Streatham councillors seem to have taken their eye off the ball on this one, although to be fair the consultation period was short and appears to have been rushed through.

You can see the final decision for Lambeth here, including the decision to close Streatham Police Station.

The document states:

"The existing Streatham Police Station will not meet longer term policing needs and alternative facilities will be required to meet future policing requirements including Front Counter facilities with appropriate public access. Alternative Front Counter solutions have been identified and a site in Streatham High Road obtained. Works are to be undertaken, when complete and the Front Counter is operational, the Front Counter in Streatham Police Station will close. During this period, any refurbishment work will be limited to health and safety related updates to meet the standards required."

I met with local police last night to try and get more details, but they seem to have no more information than is contained in the document the Mayor has issued. So it appears the Mayor has decided that the police station will close, the building will probably be sold off (although councillors have powers to designate it a community asset and so keep it under community control), and an alternative police front counter service set up down in "The Dip" on Streatham High Road. The new front counter service, like the planned present front counter service, will not be 24 hours, but just open during the day. It will also be a "deployment base" according to the document. These are where the borough’s Safer Neighbourhood Teams, Borough Tasking Teams and/ or Emergency Response and Patrol officers and PCSOs start and end their tours of duty.

As proposed in the original consultation document, the Safer Neighbourhood Teams will be just one police officer and one Police Community Support Officer (PCSO).

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