Petition handed in with over 5,000 signatures urging rethink on Dagenham police station closure
- Credit: Andrew Achilleos
Over 5,000 signatures were delivered to City Hall today as Jon Cruddas MP handed in his petition objecting to controversial plans to close Dagenham’s only police station.
The Dagenham and Rainham MP says the campaign has been a “real testament to people power,” and the ball is now firmly in the court of the deputy mayor for policing.
Mr Cruddas intends to “stay on top of the situation” throughout the decision making process.
“The community came together four years ago, and I think we can stop it again,” he said.
Labour London Assembly Member, Unmesh Desai, says every closure must be considered on its own merits and he is “optimistic” Dagenham’s unique set of circumstances, coupled with the high profile campaign, will force a rethink among his own party.
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Increasing population, increasing crime and the proximity to the next nearest counter where crime can be reported - which is in Barking - are reasons touted by the area’s MP, council leader and assembly member for keeping an operational station in Dagenham.
The campaign was officially backed by Barking and Dagenham Council, who urged residents to sign the petition.
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Council leader Darren Rodwell said: “I am overwhelmed by the number of residents who not only signed the petition, but have gone out of their way to highlight the need for a station in that part of our borough.”
Residents have also expressed their concern at the proposed closure.
Nicola Goodman, who lives in Thaxted House, which is near to the station, said visible policing is key to combating crime.
“The gangs are not stupid - they know if stations are closing it’s going to take police longer to get out to crimes and they are more likely to get away with things,” she said.
“It is the central government’s fault. We should be opening more stations, not less.”
Mr Cruddas’s campaign organiser Andrew Achilleos says getting so many signatures was a huge task, but the community response was excellent.
“Come what may this campaign has shown what the community can achieve when it feels passionately about something,” he said.
“The campaign to save the Civic Centre got 5,000 signatures across 18 months - this petition gained more support in just eight weeks.”
Village Ward councillor and office manager of Mr Cruddas Margaret Mullane says “many hours” of outside work have been put into the campaign by the MP’s team, who are desperate for a “victory for the whole community.”
In July Sadiq Khan, who as yet hasn’t responded to a request for comment, said financial constraints mean he has “no choice” but to close stations.
“The huge government cuts to the Metropolitan Police Service have left us no choice but to take drastic action to protect the frontline of policing,” he said.
“My top priority is keeping Londoners safe, and every pound saved by closing a front counter is a pound of savings we do not have to find by reducing the frontline.”