“We will come to you” was the message from senior police figures at a public consultation on the closure of Barnet stations this evening.
The Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC) is proposing to shut Barnet and Whetstone stations and reduce opening hours at Golders Green under its policing plan for the next four years.
Deputy Mayor Stephen Greenhalgh and assistant police commissioner Simon Byrne held a one-hour consultation at Hendon Town Hall into their draft Police and Crime Plan, which aims to save the Met £500million by 2015.
Less than 100 people turned out to hear the future of the borough’s policing, which includes the gradual deployment of more police officers, and fewer PCSOs, in the coming years.
Following a short presentation by Mr Greenhalgh, a panel that included council leader Richard Cornelius and Barnet’s borough commander Adrian Usher took questions from the floor.
MOPAC says more people than ever before contact their police force over the phone and claims the demand for police stations is dramatically decreasing.
Assistant commissioner Byrne explained that he wanted the force to make best use of its resources by closing rarely used police stations and putting more officers on the beat.
He said: “The whole notion of what we want going forward is that we come to you. Why see you at a police station when we can see you in your place of work or at home? I’m convinced we’re going in the right direction.”
Where closures do occur, safer neighbourhood team contact points will be set up and deputy mayor Mr Greenhalgh said there must be “no black holes” in the capital where stations are closed.
He said: “This is about finding better ways for people to interact with the police. We have had decades of declining contact and this is an opportunity to bring those connections back.”
Borough commander Adrian Usher added that, despite the closures leaving Barnet with just one full time station, he welcomed the plan.
He said: “This is good news for Barnet. We’re going to have more officers for Barnet and that is a good thing.”