6 November 2017
Lee (Left), Jenny (Centre), Ashley (Centre), and Barry (Right) with the petition to save Woodford and Barkingside Police Stations.
On Sunday November 5th, members of Waltham Forest and Redbridge Green Party were joined outside Woodford Police Station by Green Party peer Baroness Jones of Moulsecoomb to draw attention to the station’s closure and imminent sell-off by the Metropolitan Police.(1)
The Green Party’s Ashley Gunstock has recently started a petition (2) to save Woodford and Barkingside Police Stations. The Mayor’s Office for Crime and Policing has.claimed that the closures are the only option due to swingeing cuts from Central Government to police funding. If these two police stations are allowed to close, there will be just a single 24-hour station in Central Ilford remaining for a borough of around 300,000 inhabitants (3).
As a result of the police station closures, victims of crime will need to provide statements on the phone, instead of meeting an officer face to face. The other option is to report crimes online, via the main Met Police website, or using social media. Many people who are unable to report crime online or by telephone will struggle to get to Central Ilford.
Baroness Jones, the Green Party peer and former Deputy Mayor of London, commented:
"I'm worried that the closure of local police stations will damage community policing and weaken that crucial link between local people and their police service. With the government cuts to the police in recent years I can understand why senior officers feel the need to make closures like this, but without the community engagement, the police's job gets much harder.”
Ashley Gunstock continued: “Although Woodford Police Station is closed to the public, it is a vital hub for local Police Officers. There are 4 planned hubs for Ward Officers in Redbridge. However, it is unclear where these will be and Woodford residents may not be able to locate their local officers easily.
We need to keep the pressure up to make sure we keep these Police Stations in use.”
Jenny Jones concluded: ”Station closures are often a false economy as the pressures on the police don't go away and they have to be dealt with in different ways instead."
(1) Baroness Jones of Moulsecoomb was on the Metropolitan Police Authority 2000 - 2012. She was Deputy Chair of the London Assembly Police and Crime Committee 2012-16, before stepping down as a London Assembly member. She became Baroness Jones in 2013.