Waltham Forest to be left with one police station – located in area with lowest crime rate
The only police front counter in Walthamstow is set to close – leaving Chingford as the last remaining police station in the borough.
Walthamstow Town Centre Police Office in Walthamstow High Street is one of 40 stations listed for closure as part of the latest swathe of cuts to policing in London.
A big fall in the number of crimes reported at front desks, coupled with a need to cut spending by £400million over four years, is cited by the Metropolitan Police Service and the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC) to justify the closures.
Plans also include closing several other police sites in the borough, including a patrol base in Blackhorse Lane; ‘partnership’ bases at Leyton Library and Tesco supermarket in Leytonstone; plus Safer Neighbourhoods Team (SNT) bases in Forest Road, Lea Bridge Road and Ching Way.
The closures are revealed in a draft strategy published jointly by the Met Police and MOPAC this summer and which is now open to public consultation until 6th October.
Explaining the rationale behind the plans, Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime Sophie Linden, and Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick, said: “Our investment in frontline policing, and the equipment needed for a 21st Century police force, is made possible by selling expensive-to-run buildings – many of which only support back-office activity – which are underused or no longer needed.
“Only by diverting resources from places where they are no longer needed or used can we protect the front line and deliver the greatest bang for Londoners’ buck.”
Leytonstone Police Station was closed in 2014 in a previous round of cuts totalling £600m across the Metropolitan Police. And although a new £13m custody centre was opened in Leyton in 2010, the building is not open to the public and cannot be used to report a crime.
Figures presented in the draft public access strategy suggest that less than one crime is being reported per day on average at Walthamstow Town Centre Police Office. And it showed that the percentage of crimes reported at front counters across London had fallen from 21 percent to less than ten percent over the past decade.
But if the office does close as planned, it means anyone in the borough wishing to report a crime in person would have to visit Chingford Police Station in Kings Head Hill, four miles away from Walthamstow town centre. The station is located within Chingford Green, which currently has the lowest crime rate out of all the borough’s 20 wards.
To view the strategy and to take part in the consultation on the Met Police and MOPAC’s plans before the closing date on Friday 6th October: