CONTROVERSIAL plans to shut all the cells at Harrow Police Station have been put on hold after councillors lobbied the man at the helm of the Metropolitan Police.
Harrow Council chief executive Michael Lockwood and senior councillors explained their concerns to Met Police Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe (pictured) in a private meeting at Harrow Civic Centre ahead of his visit to Wealdstone Youth Centre.
Without public consultation, the police had decided to close the borough’s 11 cells and two detention rooms from September, meaning suspects would have to be taken to Brent, Barnet or Hillingdon by arresting officers.
Mr Lockwood said: “It’s on hold at the moment. They [the police] are happy to reflect and review and look at how we build a custody suite in Harrow and come up with a flexible solution.”
Gareth Thomas, Labour MP for Harrow West, started a Save Our Cells petition on Saturday, calling for the decision to be scrapped, and challenged the home secretary Theresa May in the House of Commons on Monday, who said it was up to the police to make decisions on ‘operational matters’.
Mr Thomas said: “I’m pleased there’s a window, although from what I gather there’s still a significant body of opinion that wants to shut the suite.
“I’m still worried about the future; we will be one of only two London boroughs, with Richmond, not to have a custody suite and I’m shocked at the lack of consultation. I say it’s as significant as an A&E department is in health terms and it’s an error in legal process that you have to consult on the closure of health facilities but not major community policing facilities.”
We were unable to contact the police before the paper went to press.