Reaction to Croydon Police front counter closures announcement
Croydon’s police chief has defended controversial plans to close front counters at five police stations.
Last week the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime’s (MOPAC) published its estates strategy that would leave Croydon Police’s Park Lane headquarters as the only remaining front desk open to the public in London’s biggest borough.
South Norwood police station, which has already been earmarked for sale, and the stations at Kenley, Purley, Addington and Norbury, are all set to lose their front counters.
The plans have also cast doubt over the stations’ futures.
The proposals are part of plans to cut £500m from the Metropolitan Police budget.
The announcement has caused outrage among some residents, raising questions about how people will be able to report crime face-to-face to police, and whether parts of the borough will feel less safe.
The move also contradicts a judge-led inquiry into the Croydon riots that recommended that there should be more police stations in Croydon.
But police have said the closures will free up finances for Croydon to gain 110 extra safer neighbourhood officers and seven more police officers by 2015, the second highest increase in London.
In an exclusive interview with the Croydon Guardian, acting borough commander, Superintendent Rob Atkin, said he understood people’s concern.
He said it was a challenging time for police but preserving and expanding on frontline officers was a positive step.
But Labour group leader Councillor Tony Newman described proposals to axe counters as “utterly indefensible”, especially after the riots in 2011.