Police face public over proposal to close front counters

Chiara Giordano (05 October, 2017) Crime

Money saved could fund tablets and more body-worn cameras says borough commander

16680Southwark Borough Bommander Simon Messinger faced residents' questions over the proposals during a recent consultation

Residents voiced concerns over proposals to close police front counters during a meeting with officers at City Hall.

The Met Police launched a public consultation asking people for their views on the closure of police front counters – which is estimated to save the force £10million each year.

Police say many of London’s front counters are underused and that there will still be at least one 24-hour front counter in each borough.

Southwark Borough Commander Simon Messinger, Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime Sophie Linden and other officers from the borough answered residents’ questions during a meeting at City Hall on September 28.

Mr Messinger told those gathered that the money saved from closing the counters would go into funding things like tablets which would allow officers to remain out on the beat rather than returning to police stations.

It could also fund body-warn cameras and equipment for police cars.

“We will look at making the 101 service better and reporting crime online rather than people having to come into a police station which is probably the slowest way of doing it,” said Mr Messinger.

He added that dedicated ward officer hubs would act as a base for officers to get into their kit and be out in their ward as soon as possible.

When asked why developers do not provide a police facility when bringing more people into the area, Inspector Jim Cole of Southwark police said British Land was looking to do this as part of the Canada Water Masterplan.

One person brought up the fact that it is difficult for residents to report crime online in places such as Rotherhithe where there are problems with broadband speeds. Another said they felt safe with police around and that they would like to see reinvestment in crime prevention and education.

Sophie Linden, Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime, told residents: “70 per cent of crimes from London are reported over the telephone.

“Across London, only eight per cent of crimes are actually reported by people going into police stations and that’s why we need to look hard at managing savings. “I understand that a police counter closing in the community is like police withdrawing from a community.”

To view the draft strategy, visit: www.london.gov.uk/what-we-do/mayors-office-policing-and-crime-mopac/mopac-consultations/share-your-views-accessing-met

Comments and answers to the questions can be sent to: Consultation@mopac.london.gov.uk

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