Police station closures could trigger crime wave, Barking and Dagenham residents warn
- Credit: Archant
Concerned residents have warned that plans to axe all their police stations could trigger a fresh crime wave in Barking and Dagenham.
They spoke out after the Met unveiled proposals to close Dagenham, Marks Gate and Barking police stations as part of a £500million cost-cutting drive.
Crime victims would have to go to a new 24-hour front counter at Barking Learning Centre on the Town Square, with police working out of an £18million out-of-town base at Fresh Wharf in Highbridge Road, Barking.
The Met pledged that police numbers would increase by nearly 70 in the east London borough, from 426 in 2011 to 493 in 2015.
But Post readers warned the closures could accelerate the rise in burglaries witnessed in Barking and Dagenham last year and trigger new riots in the capital.
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Ken Roast said: “What is needed, in part, to satisfy the public is a visible local presence, a base from which the officers can operate, a place where the public can go to report issues or make enquiries.”
Penisoner Barry Watson, 70, of Gale Street, Dagenham, said: “If it gets hot this summer riots will run without stopping for days.”
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Another reader wrote: “To close all three police stations is a crime in itself - [it will be a] burglars’ paradise and our insurance premiums will go up.”
Dagenham and Rainham MP Jon Cruddas said: “The closures will leave much of the borough open to increased levels of crime.”
London Assembly member John Biggs added: “This is further evidence that the Mayor and government are cutting too far, too fast and are hitting the frontline.”
But Supt Mike Hamer told the Post: “We realise that there is a great deal of genuine concern about some parts of the plans and the consultation will provide everyone with the opportunity to learn more about the proposed changes and to raise the issues that are of concern to them.
“I hope that during the course of the consultation people will be reassured that policing in Barking and Dagenham will be improved by enhanced officer availability and better victim and customer care.”
The Met police consultation is to end on March 6.