An MP says she is "alarmed" that a police front desk may again face closure when public confidence in the force has "plummeted".

The Metropolitan Police is considering closing the front desk at the Barking Learning Centre following an audit of the site alongside the one at Dagenham East.

Barking MP Dame Margaret Hodge says she learned of this after speaking to the BCU Commander and the Barking Town Centre Team, and was "alarmed" to be told possible closure has emerged again.

In a letter co-signed by Barking and Dagenham Council leader Cllr Darren Rodwell, she wrote to the deputy assistant commissioner of the Met, Laurence Taylor, on September 29.

She wrote: "The closure of a public facing facility in Barking is simply unacceptable. At a time when local confidence in the police has plummeted - particularly in Barking and Dagenham following the inquests into the murders of Anthony Walgate, Gabriel Kovari, Daniel Whitworth and Jack Taylor - you should be going the extra mile to increase your presence to help restore confidence."

The MP letter criticised the Met's use of current usage statistics to measure the facility's effectiveness, slamming its condition and accessibility.

She added: "The facility is scarcely open, its opening hours are irregular and unknown to constituents, and it is physically uninviting and in a very poor state of repair.

"At the same time, there is a large and rapid increase in the population in Barking and your own crime statistics will show that most crime is concentrated in the west of the borough, not the east.

"Getting to East Dagenham can take a good hour by public transport. It is simply not on to expect my constituents to travel all that way to see a police officer."

Lady Hodge said it was “simply not true” that a lack of support from the council was contributing to the decision, adding that Cllr Rodwell was willing to host a discussion with the council’s development company, Be First, to explore whether it could provide a new home for the police station.

Calling for a "better, permanent presence" open to the public in Barking, she urged the assistant commissioner to visit her.

A spokesperson for the Met said: "As part of a review of the Met's buildings and estates, we are considering the idea of relocating officers from the Barking Learning Centre to another location in the town.

"These plans are still being finalised with the Mayor's Officer for Policing and Crime and no decision has been made.

"We recognise the important of good community policing and the public's desire to see more officers patrolling the streets of Barking.

"Should there be any change to our front counter provision, we will still have a visible policing presence in the town, including officers from the dedicated Barking Town Centre Team, who are there to listen to concerns from the public and respond to crime and anti-social behaviour."