March 12 2014 Latest news:
by Stephen Moore
Wednesday, January 9, 2013
All but one police station in north Westminster is earmarked for closure under plans offically announced today, immediately blasted as “a backward step”.
The 24-hour stations at Marylebone and Harrow Road stations will be closed if the plans get the go-ahead, as will St John’s Wood, which operates daytime opening hours.
The high security Paddington Green station, also in Harrow Road by Edgware Road Tube station, is safeguarded under the proposals, published by the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC).
Cllr Paul Dimoldenberg, leader of Westminster’s Labour opposition, said: “We are certainly not happy at the prospect of losing the Harrow Road police station, and I think the Metropolitan Police will have to come up with very strong arguments for closing it.”
He added: “They are all of concern, but losing a police station on the Harrow Road will be a very severe blow to the local community, not just because it provides reassurance to the community, but also because it is a focus for police activity, and to lose that would be a backwards step.”
The plans are part of City Hall’s bid to cut £500million from the Metropolitan Police budget over the next three years. In all, 65 of the least-used police front counters across the capital are proposed for closure while New Scotland Yard will be sold.
MOPAC is also in talks with the Post Office over using its high street branches as front counter points. A pilot will start in the summer.
An eight-week consultation on the proposals, starting today, will include a town hall meeting in every borough.
Met Police Deputy Commissioner Craig Mackay said 80 per cent of its spend was on police staff and offices, and functions such as IT. Officers will be instructed to work on mobile devices rather in an office.
There are currently 37 senior managers and 7,160 senior officers overseeing a total of 24,630 PCs. The proposal is to reduce this to 26 senior managers, 6,022 supervisors, and 25,909 PCs.
Around 800 police staff are expected to leave the Met in the first quarter of this year, he said.
“Our supervision ratios are higher than the other 42 forces in England and Wales,” Mr Mackay added. “We looked at areas where we can change the ways in which police officers are supervised with the prize being 26,000 constables.”