Councillors will fight to 'bitter end' to save police station front counters (From East London and West Essex Guardian Series)
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Area One councillors will fight to 'bitter end' to save Wanstead and Woodford police station front counters
Opposition to the proposed front counter closures in police stations in the west of the borough remains high as councillors pledged they will fight to the bitter end.
Last night at the Area One Committee meeting, councillors and residents were informed of the proposals made in Draft Police and Crime Plan and the Metropolitan Police's Estate Strategy.
Under the proposals Wanstead and Woodford would lose their front counters, while Barkingside police station opening hours would be reduced and Ilford police station would become Redbridge's only 24 hour front counter.
Police officer numbers in the borough would increase from 444 to 530, which is the third highest increase in London.
Safer Neighbourhood Teams would be scrapped and replaced with Neighbourhood Teams with officers working flexibly across wards, rather than being dedicated to one.
Labour activist Greg Eglin warned these proposals was a return to sector policing.
He said: "Safer Neighbourhood Teams are vital to fighting crime in London.
"They build local knowlegde and get to know their patches.
"It is important this move to sector policing is stopped."
Councillors were quick to reassure residents they remain opposed to any proposals, despite the leader of the Labour Party in Redbridge, Jas Athwal, accusing the Conservative leader of the council, Keith Prince, of giving up on the fight at full council last week.
Cllr Chris Cummins said: "Redbridge Council remains unanimously opposed to these closures.
"The principle of a police station is to provide reassurance to residents and act as a deterrant to criminals.
"We are committed to fighting to the bitter end for our police stations."
Cllr Alex Wilson added: "We remain completely opposed to any closures of Wanstead police station.
"We believe officers need to be based and deployed locally. It is not a case of either or here, we need to keep our officers and our police stations."
Councillors agreed to put forward their objections so Redbridge Council can make a response to the Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime on the proposals.
The Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime, Stephen Greenhalgh, will attend meeting will be held in Redbridge Town Hall, Ilford, on February 11 from 8pm.
To register to attend click here.
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