Safety fears raised over plan to close three police stations in Barking and Dagenham
- Credit: Archant
Residents have expressed their fears over the proposed closures of three police stations.
Chief among concerns raised at the consultation meeting on Monday with representatives from the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime was the safety in areas furthest away from the multi-million pound Fresh Wharf custody base in Barking and what is to be the borough’s only 24-hour police counter at Barking Learning Centre.
Under proposals, three existing stations – Barking, Dagenham and Marks Gate –would close, to be replaced by contact points around the borough as part of cost-cutting measures to tackle the Met’s £500million budget deficit.
Doreen Pomain, 76, of Oulton Crescent, Barking, said: “When you need a policeman, there should be somewhere that you know you can get one and pass on your worries.”
Barry Wilkinson, 68, of Western Avenue, Dagenham, said the closures were “disgraceful”, adding: “What about the crime hotspots in Dagenham Heathway?”
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Deputy mayor for policing, Stephen Greenhalgh, confirmed a planned restructuring of the MPS would see the numbers of “bobbies on the beat” rise in Barking and Dagenham, up by 67 to 493 by 2015.
He said fewer than 50 crimes were reported at existing “Victorian front counters”, adding closures reflected Londoners’ preference to call police in an emergency.
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Barking and Dagenham borough commander Andy Ewing said: “The new local policing model is going to mean that we have a much more streamlined managing structure and it means extra officers being in the right place at the right time.”
Cllr Jeanne Alexander, cabinet member for crime, justice and communities, criticised the Mayor’s office, saying: “In June last year, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner told local people that extra police officers would be found for Barking and Dagenham after the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
“That simply hasn’t happened – and it is bitterly disappointing to find that promise may not now be kept until 2015. Put bluntly: this is three years too late.”
Under the new plans, five contact points will be set up at points across Barking and Dagenham where members of the public can meet police from 11am to 1pm on Saturday and one day midweek from 7pm and 9pm, said Cdr Ewing.
The consultation period officially closed yesterday (Tues).