North Westminster police responses ‘will suffer’ under new plans

Concerns have been raised over the future of policing in North Westminster after sweeping changes to the borough’s police force were revealed.

The Wood&Vale has learned police bosses are currently considering moving all response teams away from Paddington Green police station to a single patrol base which could be located at Charing Cross or Belgravia.

A source has also claimed Paddington Green and Harrow Road stations will be sold to raise money for the cash-strapped Metropolitan police.

Police chiefs have denied any stations are planned for closure but a spokeswoman admitted they may feature in future “rationalisation” of the force.

She also confirmed Paddington Green’s custody suite – parts of which have recently been upgraded – is due to close with staff transferring to Charing Cross.

An anonymous source told the Wood&Vale he was worried about the impact of moving all response officers away from North Westminster. “With the best will in the world and the ‘blues and twos’ going, the response times to incidents in W9, W10 and NW8 will be impacted,” he said.

“The drivers will be under far more pressure and it will be much more dangerous to the public to have response cars speeding through London to the outer reaches of Westminster, often in heavy traffic.

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“I have spoken to a number of local officers who are deeply unhappy with this proposal and fear that they will not be able to provide an efficient service to the residents in these areas.”

The source also said morale was low at Paddington Green with a number of officers having left since a new superintendent took over in July.

He said: “Everyone is too scared to speak up because life could be made ‘very difficult’ if they do.”

The police spokeswoman confirmed a number of officers have left due to “retirement, career development and changes” but said five new chief inspectors are due to start in Westminster.

“None of the police stations in north Westminster is currently due to close,” she said. “All are old police buildings and may feature in future rationalisation of the Metropolitan police estate but there are no scheduled plans for any of them to cease operating as police stations at this time.”

She added that Westminster is currently fifth best in London for response times and proposed changes will only be introduced if performance can be maintained.