Bexleyheath Police Station could be sold-off to fund frontline policing, Sadiq Khan suggests
PUBLISHED: 10:43 19 July 2017 | UPDATED: 17:24 19 July 2017
A consultation on the closures is underway
Proposals from the mayor of London to sell-off Bexleyheath Police Station and move services to Sidcup have sparked fears over the future of the borough’s neighbourhood watch.
In a bid to fund frontline policing improvements, Sadiq Khan has suggested a cull of front counters, as the service is used less and less by the public.
The current 24-hour front counter in the town centre is the only round-the-clock counter in the borough, and was used to report less than two crimes a day on average during May, the mayor’s office found.
Under plans put forward in a consultation, the 24-hour service could be moved to Marlowe House, while the mayor tries to raise £10million by selling off Bexleyheath station, along with 30 others around the capital.
Chair of Bexley Neighbourhood Watch Association, Dana Wiffen, said: “We’re currently based at Bexleyheath, if they’re going to move all of the police over to there, then what happens if there’s no room for us?
“Obviously we will need to see what happens, but it is concerning as we won’t be able to operate as well if we are based at home, we depend on having a good relationship with the police.
“Also, if you’re trying to keep police in the job, making them have longer travel journeys to another office seems a bit daft.”
Mr Khan said he has “no choice” but to take what he called “drastic action” in the face of government cuts to Met Police funding.
He said: “By freeing up officers and moving them closer to their communities, they will be able to spend more time on the beat to tackle the issues that matter most to Londoners, such as knife crime, anti-social behaviour, hate crime and extremism, and domestic abuse.
“We will still be able to maintain a 24/7 front counter service in every borough and are improving the telephone and online services that Londoners value so highly.”
David Evennett, MP for Bexleyheath and Crayford, said: “This is an ill-thought proposal and I urge Mr Khan to reconsider. Bexleyheath Police Station is in the centre of our borough and is easily accessible for residents. Closing this station counter would be unacceptable and very unwise, especially in view of current security concerns.”
Gareth Bacon, Bexley’s Tory representative in City Hall, said: “Mr Khan has inherited this problem from his predecessor to an extent, Met Police is entitled to sell off its sites to raise money, so I am not surprised they are considering selling Bexleyheath, but a lot of work will need to be done at Marlowe House to make sure it is fit for purpose.
“Residents in Sidcup will be slightly concerned that offenders meeting parole conditions would have to visit their town.
“It’s important people respond to the consultation and that the mayor maintains a dialogue going forward on what exactly is going to happen.”