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Harrow Police stations and safer neighbourhood team bases to be SCRAPPED after £350m government cuts

The Mayor of London has pledged to keep South Harrow station open

All police stations bar one and all safer neighbourhood team bases will be scrapped in Harrow after the latest wave of government cuts to hit policing in London.

Both Pinner and Edgware police stations would be closed and sold off, as well as seven safer neighbourhood (SNT) bases, in a bid to keep frontline police officer jobs.

But Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has pledged to save South Harrow police station and it's 24-hour counter.

The sell-offs are a response to the latest round of government cuts, which has seen current commissioner Cressida Dick asked to save £350million.

It comes after the Metropolitan Police has been forced to take out £650milllion from its budget over the past five years.

The Mayor has pledged to keep South Harrow Police station open(Image: Google Maps)

Speaking at a public consultation in at Harrow's Civic Centre, Borough Commander Chief Superintendent Simon Ovens, warned police buildings would have to go as they are "extraordinarily expensive to keep up".

He said: "We have some of the best response times in London, in Harrow, we'll get to you within seven minutes of you making the call.

"But the first round of reduction saw (the budget) reduced by £650million a year, and the last commissioner achieved that whilst maintaining the number of police officers, which is 32,000.

"To achieve that, we saw a good number of police stations closed, and in this borough we saw Wealdstone station closed, and Scotland Yard itself was sold.

"However, in the latest round of budgetary reduction, the new commissioner has been told she has to save another £350million, so roughly, all-in-all, that reduces the yearly budget by nearly a billion pounds a year.

"And in an organisation where we spend 85% of that money on staff, whereas the last commissioner did an amazing job to maintain the number of police officers, frankly, that might no longer be possible."

Borough Commander Simon Ovens spoke at a public meeting at Harrow's Civic Centre(Image: Harrow MPS)

As part of the money-saving proposals, all seven SNT bases would be scrapped, and swapped with a minimum of two dedicated "hubs" with ward officers in Harrow.

Contact points, introduced by previous Mayor Boris Johnson, will be scrapped as they are "ridiculously underused".

Ch Supt Ovens said: "We don't need them, they're a waste of my officer sitting there."

Gareth Thomas, MP for Harrow West, attended the meeting on Tuesday (September 26) and asked if Harrow's Criminal Investigation Department (CID) would remain under the shake-up, which would see Harrow merge with Barnet and Brent as a "tri-borough".

He said: "This is bad enough looking at the future police buildings in Harrow, but the potential loss of thousands of police officers in London giving the rise in terrorist attacks and the recent rise in crime, is particularly grim."

The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan and Met Police Commissioner Cressida Dick(Image: PA)

Ch Supt Ovens replied: "There are major custody suites at Colindale and Wembley police station and I think it would up to the BCU (Basic Command Unit) commander as to whether that's staying or not.

"But to answer your question, if the custody suite in Harrow was to close, I would expect not to see CID officers in Harrow."

New technology will be introduced to replace the need for buildings in the borough, which will see officers carrying tablets so they don't need to travel back to an office base to type up crime reports.

Ch Supt Ovens added: "Often people equate the location of a police station with the presence of police officers and that simply isn't true.

"I don't want officers hanging around the police station, I want them out and about.

"And that's why this new technology is going to be so wonderful because it will allow them to go out more."

What do you think of the proposed changes to policing in Harrow? If you'd like to pose a question to Borough Commander Simon Ovens, contact katherine.clementine@trinitymirror.com - we'll ask questions directly in a live Q&A on Friday (September 29).

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