THE man appointed to oversee the borough’s Safer Neighbourhood Teams, says policing in Wanstead and Woodford will not suffer even if police stations are sold.

Chief Inspector John Fish, has moved to Redbridge after stints in charge of SNTs in Newham and Havering.

Reacting to rumours that stations in Wanstead and Woodford are about to be sold off as part of a London wide cost cutting programme, he said: “The first thing I would say is that it is a very big leap to say either of those police stations will be closed.

“But if that were to happen then I would have to come up with an accommodation plan that delivered within the budgets available to me.”

The Borough Commander Sue Williams has suggested that Wanstead SNTs could operate from Leytonstone should Wanstead Police station be sold.

And plans to have police bike into Woodford from Barkingside should Woodford Police station close have been fiercely opposed by councillors and residents.

Chief Insp. Fish, said: “Do I want people wasting time on unnecessary travel? The answer is no, I want police on the ground where they are needed.

“But I have experienced situations where officers  have policed well off their patch.

“These are new times with new challenges and things  won’t fall apart if teams have to move. I won’t let that happen.”

Last month, Redbridge Council leader Keith Prince said the council would provide a base for SNTs to operate from if police stations in the west of the borough closed.

And Chief Insp. Fish said:“If accommodation options were available outside of police stations that would be something we would consider.”

Asked about priorities in Wanstead and Woodford, Chief Insp. Fish pinpointed burglary and vehicle theft.

And he said he would be introducing new techniques to crack down on distraction thefts in Wanstead where several pensioners have been targeted at cashpoints in recent weeks.

“In the three weeks I have been here I have been reviewing crime figures every day,” he said.

“I come with a strong track record on tackling distraction crimes.

“There are certain techniques which I am not willing to discuss publically which we will be putting into practice.”

But he will not be reintroducing a 2009 scheme which saw officers escorting elderly people to cash points.

“If I felt the need to reinvigorate a previously successful scheme then I would do it,” he said.

“But I do not think there is a need to reintroduce that scheme at this time.”

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