Politicians gather for last-ditch protest against closure of Dagenham police station

Councillors, MP Jon Cruddas, council leader Darren Rodwell and campaigners outside Dagenham police s

Councillors, MP Jon Cruddas, council leader Darren Rodwell and campaigners outside Dagenham police station protesting against its closure - Credit: Archant

London assembly members, councillors and Dagenham and Rainham MP Jon Cruddas braved the rain in a last-ditch protest against Dagenham police station’s closure.

They gathered at the stricken station to step-up their campaign as they attempt to add more signatures to the 2,500 they already have on their petition.

However time is running out as the deadline for a decision is 6th October.

The station, in Rainham Road, is to be closed as a cost-cutting measure following police budget cuts.

It is not the first time in its history the station has been threatened with closure - campaigners fought off a similar attempt in 2013.

Jon Cruddas said: “This is money driven rather than crime driven. We’ve got issues with acid attacks, moped gangs. If anywhere is an exceptional case, it’s here.”

The chair of the safer neighbourhood board for Dagenham and Barking, Steve Thompson, said: “In 2013 residents proved there was a need for this station. That need still exists and, in fact, has increased.”

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The proposed closure, cited as “absolutely disgusting” by lifelong Dagenham resident Rita Giles MBE, comes at a time when crime figures are running high.

Unmesh Desai, east London GLA member, said: “I have sympathy with Sadiq Khan’s position but I think there is a special case here and the station should stay open. London is moving to the east and there will be a lot of population growth. We have got to look at where Barking and Dagenham is going to be ten years from now.

“It is quicker to get to Barking police station from where I live in Newham than it is from Dagenham.”

Cllr Darren Rodwell said: “Where London is growing - which is east - the resources need to follow.

“This is all about the false economy of austerity.”

In July, Sadiq Khan said financial constraints means he has “no choice” but to look for ways to cut costs.

He said: “The huge government cuts to the Metropolitan Police have left us no choice but to take drastic action to protect the frontline of policing.

“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.”

Mr Cruddas said: “I’ll campaign against Labour and the Conservatives if necessary, especially with the challenges we’ve got in terms of crime.”