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Public trust in police at lowest ebb, says Barking MP Margaret Hodge

PUBLISHED: 16:13 24 November 2017 | UPDATED: 09:06 27 November 2017

Margaret Hodge speaks to campaigners at Friday's protest against the counter closure. Picture: Tom Horton

Margaret Hodge speaks to campaigners at Friday's protest against the counter closure. Picture: Tom Horton

Archant

The MP for Barking has warned that public confidence in the police has plummeted after a major shake-up to the force’s command.

Barking and Dagenham, Redbridge and Havering merged into a new policing system under a trial scheme launched in April.

The Metropolitan Police maintain the Basic Command Unit (BCU) will save millions by allowing squads to share resources.

But Dame Margaret Hodge says the move has failed to tackle crime.

“Your actions have undermined confidence in the public,” wrote the Labour MP in a letter to Sophie Linden, London’s deputy mayor for policing and crime.

Dame Margaret said the “failure of the tri-borough policing system”, an “inadequate response” to the fallout from the London Bridge attacks and a “lack of understanding of local concerns” had left constituents’ trust in the police “at an all-time low”.

The letter, dated November 16, follows Dame Margaret’s petition to keep the police counter in Barking Learning Centre open.

Dagenham MP Jon Cruddas recently succeeded in a similar bid to save Dagenham police station from closure, which left the Barking counter for the chop.

Dame Margaret said it was “outrageous” to keep the Rainham Road South station open “at the expense” of constituents across the borough.

“At no point during the consultation on Dagenham police station was the closure of Barking police station up for discussion,” Hodge wrote.

Addressing irregular opening hours and poor levels of service would make residents feel confident in using the counter, she added.

She warned that shutting it down would “only exacerbate existing problems” such as prostitution along Victoria Road and drug dealing on the Gascoigne Estate.

Dame Margaret urged Linden to reconsider the closure and invited her to meet to discuss the issue.

A spokeswoman for the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime did not confirm whether the deputy mayor took up the offer.

“The police front counter at Barking Learning Centre remains open,” she said.

“As we set out in our strategy - published at the start of November - we are currently considering the wider plan for the borough.

“This will, of course, include conversations with local politicians and the wider public.”

The Met referred the Post to MOPAC for comment.

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