Bexleyheath Police Station will NOT close, despite proposal from mayor of London
PUBLISHED: 09:33 01 November 2017 | UPDATED: 14:20 01 November 2017
Sadiq Khan's proposal was met with vehement opposition
Fears Bexleyheath Police Station could be closed have been put to bed after the mayor of London’s office announced it would be keeping the station open.
Sadiq Khan had proposed to close the station in a bid to save Met Police money in the face of government cuts, but faced united opposition from across the borough.
If plans went ahead, the station’s services, including its 24/7 front counter, would have moved to Marlowe House in Sidcup.
Responding to the news, Bexleyheath and Crayford MP David Evennett said: “I am glad the London mayor listened and dropped his proposal. It is a real victory for local people and common sense”.
Last month campaigners from the Neighbourhood Watch Association and the Safer Neighbourhood Board took an 8,000 strong petition to save the station up to City Hall, where they presented it to Bexley assembly member, Gareth Bacon.
Dana Whiffen, chair of Bexley Neighbourhood Watch Association, said: “I was overjoyed when I heard the news.
“Most of us, including the police officers supporting us, thought it was a foregone conclusion, but this just goes to show that people power works.
“We’ve all worked really hard on this and its taken a lot of our time as volunteers, now we have to get back to work with the NWA.”
Speaking today, Mr Khan said: “I understand and share some of the very legitimate concerns of Londoners about these closures. That is why we held the widest possible consultation with public meetings in every London borough and we have listened very carefully to the feedback.”
An email making the announcement was sent from the mayor’s consultation team to MPs, and explained why City Hall came to the decision.
It reads: “In Bexley specifically, over the course of the consultation process new considerations were made about the operational impact of closing the police station at Bexleyheath. The MPS has spent additional time reviewing this and has come to the view that in order to avoid operational risk to the delivery of services in the future, a police station in Bexleyheath is needed.
“Further, many people in Bexley expressed strong views about the closure of Bexleyheath Police Station and the impact that this would have on public confidence.
“As a result of these factors, which came to light during the consultation period, we have taken the decision to retain Bexleyheath as the Bexley 24/7 front counter, as is the status quo.
“We will consider locally what the retention of a front counter in Bexleyheath means for the proposal to reinstate the currently closed front counter at Marlowe House.”
Ms Pearce said: “I am delighted that Bexleyheath Police Station has been saved.
“Closing the station and moving the front counter to Sidcup would have directly impacted upon my constituents and I opposed the proposals in the strongest terms to the London mayor Sadiq Khan.
“As with any change on this scale, our community has voiced genuine and passionate concerns. Through the consultation process, the police have listened to those concerns and where possible and operationally viable, revised their plans accordingly. We are grateful to everyone who took the time to have their say and help guide making these difficult decisions.
“With crime on the rise and policing budgets strained, I am hopeful that later this month the chancellor will come forward with much needed funds for the Metropolitan Police in the budget so that our officers can get the support they need to provide the protection that local residents deserve.”
Council leader Teresa O’Neill added: “We made a detailed case why we thought the decision did not make sense for both policing and financial reasons and I would like to thank all the campaigners – including Bexley Neighbourhood Watch and our local MPs - who helped us make sure the views of local people were heard.”
Bexley borough commander, Stuart Bell, said: “We thank the residents of Bexley for their feedback and have listened to their views on how they wish to access their local police services.”
The mayor’s office has said it will now be reviewing its plans on whether to reopen Marlowe House’s front counter, in light of their decision to keep Bexleyheath’s open.
In his consultation, the mayor highlighted the need to provide one 24/7 front counter per borough.