Following the consultation meeting with Deputy Mayor for Policing Stephen Greenhalgh at Barking Learning Centre last night on the proposals to close police stations and front counters as set out in the MOPAC Police and Crime Plan, Councillor Jeanne Alexander, Cabinet Member for Crime, Justice and Communities comments:
“It is welcome that the Deputy Mayor came to hear from the residents of Barking and Dagenham on the proposals to reduce police stations and front counters. I am quite sure Stephen Greenhalgh will have heard the message loud and clear that crime and the prevention of it is a top priority in our Borough.
“In June last year, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner told local people that extra police officers would be found for Barking and Dagenham after the Olympic and Paralympic Games. That simply hasn’t happened – and it is bitterly disappointing to find that promise may not now be kept until 2015. Put bluntly: this is three years too late.
“I was also disappointed to hear that the Deputy Mayor sought to attribute anti-social behaviour issues locally to a lack of joined up policing and partnership working. That isn’t our experience on the ground and demonstrates a lack of understanding of the huge amount of work we have put into making sure that our streets and estates are safe.
“There was some good news however. I was pleasantly surprised to hear an assurance that all of the monies saved from closing outdated buildings will be invested back into the police budget itself. The Council had been told that these savings would be used instead to balance the wider police budget, which is creaking under the huge pressure, so this announcement was welcome.
“I was also pleased to see the Deputy Mayor take so many questions and stay longer than was scheduled, but the packed meeting had many more points to put forward – so we would be keen for a follow-up visit to happen sooner rather than later. More time is needed to hold the Deputy Mayor to account for his strategy – I look forward to him attending further meetings in our borough as soon as possible.”