Residents fight to stop Westminster police station closures

Concerned residents in North Westminster have launched a campaign to prevent police stations closing and response teams being moved away from the area.

Last week the Wood&Vale reported changes being considered by police bosses, including the removal of all response teams from Paddington Green police station to a single control base in the south of the borough.

Police chiefs deny any police station is “due to close” but admit they are all “old police buildings and may feature in future rationalisation” of the force.

Despite the denials, officers say they have been warned of station closures and campaigners have launched a petition and started dropping leaflets alerting North Westminster residents of their concerns.

One Westminster officer, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “We have been told Paddington Green is going to close after the Olympics and they want to get rid of Harrow Road as well.

“When it comes to moving response teams away, they aren’t worried about delaying response times or reducing morale. It’s purely economic.

“They have already cut the teams down to the bare minimum. On a night shift, the numbers of officers on duty at Paddington Green used to be about 12 or 15 but it has fallen to about six.

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“They will say we can call on officers from Belgravia or Charing Cross, but the officers there are busy enough themselves and don’t have numbers to spare.

“Numbers have dwindled, vehicles have dwindled and morale is terrible at the moment.”

Residents and people involved in Westminster policing have joined together to launch a petition against the changes and begun publicising their campaign to “Save D Division” in North Westminster.

The petition organiser, who cannot be named because of her position within the police force, said: “The information that officers have been told is that all four police stations in the north of the borough [Paddington Green, Harrow Road, Marylebone and St John’s Wood] could close.

“We need a police force that is here for local people.”

A police spokeswoman said there are “no scheduled plans for any stations to cease operating as police stations at this time”.

She also confirmed that Paddington Green’s custody suite is due to close and that moving response teams away from Paddington is being considered.

“We would only look to introduce new arrangements if we were confident that this level of coverage would be maintained and our performance would continue at existing levels,” she said.