news

Hundreds sign petition in plea to keep South Harrow police station open

Police counters could be closed across London to cope with government cuts to the Metropolitan Police

There are question marks over the future of South Harrow Police station(Image: Google Maps)

Hundreds of Harrow residents have signed a petition in a bid to halt the closure of one of the borough's last remaining police stations.

After rumours of a police tri-borough commander, which would see Harrow merged with Brent and Barnet, fears have grown over the closure of South Harrow station, in Northolt Road.

In a campaign against Conservative cuts, which saw more than 150 uniformed police lost, Harrow West MP Gareth Thomas began a petition against the closure, gaining more than 600 signatures.

Gareth Thomas MP for Harrow West has campaigned against police cuts (Image: UGC)

The Labour MP said: "To deal with this cut, the incoming Metropolitan Police Commissioner is considering merging the commands of the current borough police forces, and is likely to have to sell off a number of buildings.

"There is a very real risk that South Harrow Police Station will be closed - something I am determined to stop.

"Tackling gang activity, antisocial behaviour and burglaries is one of my top priorities and Harrow's Police must be given the resources they need."

Residents' groups in the borough are also working together to halt the closure, amid fears of the ripple effect the loss of South Harrow station could see throughout the area.

Lack of police officers creates 'a sense of vulnerability'

Caren Duhig, 33, from Harrow Weald, founded the #FixitHarrowNetwork, which sees members trying to encourage improvements in, and an awareness of the environmental, economic, and social issues within the borough.

The #FixitHarrow petition is calling on Mayor of London Sadiq Khan to halt the closure, and has gained more than 200 signatures.

Ms Duhig said: "I started the petition because, as a community, we need these matters addressed and we need to know we have the support of the authorities.

"We believe that the closure of South Harrow Police Station will have a negative and destabilising effect on our community.

"With the recent rise in knife-related crimes, as well as the amount of antisocial behaviour, burglaries, and drug and gang related activity, especially in Wealdstone, we as a community need to know that we are protected by the local authorities, as we should be.

"In Harrow Weald for instance, we rarely see a uniformed police officer and, not only does this create a sense of vulnerability and unease within our community, but we tend to have higher levels of the previously mentioned crimes.

"The loss of officers has also weakened local intelligence which is fundamental in proactively dealing with crime.

"Closing South Harrow Station would also mean that there may be a delay in police response times and reports that some people would be more comfortable making in person, would have to be done so in Wembley or Colindale."

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

 

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has warned that continued government cuts to the Metropolitan Police’s budget could mean up to half of London’s police station front counters may close, as the Met has been forced to make £600 million of savings since 2010.

The Met needs to make a further £400 million of savings by 2021, as a result of demands placed upon them by the Government.

Government 'underfunding the Met' could close counters

To mitigate some of the impact, the Mayor took the difficult decision to increase the amount raised for policing through Council Tax.

But he has said that if the government – which provides the vast majority of the Met’s money - continues to underfund the Met, he will be forced to make the hard choice of closing more front counters in order maintain police officer numbers and keep Londoners safe from crime.

Speaking in front of the London Assembly Policing Plenary, Sadiq Khan said: “The huge government cuts to the Metropolitan Police Service mean we simply have no choice but to take measures like consulting on closing half of the front counters at police stations in London.

“I have repeatedly warned about this, while lobbying the government for fair funding.

"It is the only way we can protect the number of front line police officers in the capital."

Keep up to date with the latest news in west London via the free getwestlondon app.

You can set up your app to see all the latest news and events from your area, plus receive push notifications for breaking news.

Available to download from the App Store or Google Play for Android.

View full mobile page