‘Barking Police Station not fit for purpose’ - police chief

A cell at Barking Police Station

A cell at Barking Police Station - Credit: Archant

A police chief has defended the closure of Barking Police Station, claiming the Edwardian building is no-longer fit for purpose.

Chief Inspector Richard Goodwin

Chief Inspector Richard Goodwin - Credit: Archant

Chief Inspector for community and partnership, Richard Goodwin, spoke following the announcement that, as part of a number of police station and counter closures across London, the station is shutting towards the end of the year.

Its counter service will be cut from 24 hours to a standard daytime counter around September, before relocating to Barking Learning Centre when the station closes.

Chf Insp Goodwin said: “We fully appreciate the history of Barking Police station, but the building is just not up to modern standards.

“The custody suites (cells) are very dated and in the summer we often have to close two of them because they get too hot. The offices are cramped and there is no disabled access.

Asked if he believes having a reduced counter service could see people struggling to report crime, the chief replied: “I don’t believe so because there are so many more ways you can report crime now.

“The fact that most people have mobile phones now has meant the front counter footfall has fallen over the years.

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“However we still feel it is important to have a somewhere in Barking where people can speak to an officer and we’re pleased to hear we will get a dedicated area at the Barking Learning Centre.”

Chf Insp Goodwin welcomed the news Dagenham Police Station will remain open: “If it had shut there would have been a big gap in the southern area of the borough,” he said. “During the consultation process residents made it very clear that they were not happy about this and they were listened to.”

Marks Gate police station was saved from the axe but the front counter service will see its opening hours reduced.

Barking received a state-of-the-art £18 million police station at Fresh Wharf in 2011.

The town centre station, built in 1910 and partly listed, will eventually be sold. What would you like to see it turned into? Email postnewsdesk@archant.co.uk or call 0220 8477 3900.