Calls for 'rethink' as Scotland Yard confirms Hornsey Police Station to close in January
- Credit: Polly Hancock
Three years after it was first slated for closure, the Met has confirmed it is "starting the process" of selling off Hornsey Police Station and moving out officers.
But Local MP Catherine West (Lab, Hornsey and Wood Green) said the police should rethink the plan, and said she was planning to "make the case to the government to ensure the police have the finances to keep local stations open".
Local Labour and Lib Dem councillors also expressed their "deep disappointment" at the news.
Haringey's community safety chief Cllr Mark Blake (Lab, Woodside) said he understood why local people were concerned and added: “We have had a number of conversations with the police around the changes in Haringey and have made it clear that our residents’ safety must be at the forefront of the Metropolitan Police’s plans.
"It is essential that our residents can continue to have easy access to the police and that the presence remains strong and visible in all parts of the borough."
Cllr Blake's opposition counterpart, Cllr Julia Ogiehor (Lib Dem, Muswell Hill), echoed this, adding: "Haringey and London Liberal Democrats have been campaigning against police station closures for more than 20 years because we know that it is important that the police are based close to the community they serve.
"This is unfortunately another example of the mistaken belief that the west of the borough doesn't have problems and doesn't need public services."
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She said the mayor of London should have considered alternatives such as space-sharing to keep officers in Hornsey.
Hornsey Police Station is the last remaining permanent police base in the west of Haringey.
Catherine West added: “I am deeply concerned that the Met have confirmed Hornsey Police Station will be closing.
"The police should be rooted in our communities. Year-on-year Home Office reductions have dealt a death blow to our police service and the continued closure of local police stations, like Hornsey, after a decade of Conservative cuts to police budgets further distances the police from the communities they serve."
The Met's Det Insp Neil Billany revealed the news in a letter to local parks groups. He also said the borough's Neighbourhood Watch co-ordinator Pauline Sydell would be departing.
Ch Insp Billany wrote: "Sadly both the loss of Pauline and the sale of Hornsey reflect the financial pressures that we continue to work to as London manages the effects of the pandemic."
He said the loss of Hornsey Police Station would be "as big a loss to the community" as the previous closures in Muswell Hill, Highgate and St Ann's had been.
He added: "I have a very old-fashioned view of the value of local police being based in local police stations, however I appreciate they are expensive commodities and in the case of Hornsey know it is in need of significant investment to be a fit and proper workplace."
Asked about the decision, a Scotland Yard spokesperson said the Hornsey site "fails to provide a modern policing facility that is fit for the 21st century" and that the hoped-for sale was part of a programme of "selling surplus and not fit-for-purpose buildings" and investing elsewhere to "support new ways of working and to accommodate our growing workforce". This, in turn, will ensure our officers and staff provide the best possible service to local communities.
READ MORE: Hornsey police station axed
A spokesperson for mayor of London Sadiq Khan responded, saying he is committed to ensuring every London borough had a police station with a 24/7 front counter.
They said the mayor has boosted police officer numbers across the city, and added: "In light of the increase in officer numbers, a review of the Met’s entire estate is under way and some sites previously approved for disposal have been put on hold, but it has become clear that the size, condition, location and value of Hornsey Police Station, which does not have a public front counter, makes it surplus to requirements."
The mayor and Scotland Yard said the proceeds from the sale would be re-invested in frontline policing.