Ever since the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan made his decision to close Wimbledon Police Station, Conservative councillors and I, alongside the community, have been fighting this decision. The plan was to move all policing, including emergency response units, to Mitcham Police Station.
In my response to the consultation and in my meetings with the Deputy Mayor for Policing I challenged these plans. I was concerned that moving emergency response units to Mitcham would have serious consequences to policing in the area with the need to change shift patterns, response time estimates and the allocation of resources. I also understand that Mitcham Police Station does not currently have the facilities to accommodate this. When I had my regular meeting with the local police recently I again stated I would like to see our police station stay open.
Therefore, I am very pleased to see local Chief Superintendent Sally Benatar confirming there will be a review into the provision of emergency response units across Merton and Wandsworth.
Given this news, we are continuing our campaign to Save Wimbledon Police Station by calling for it to become the central command for a rapid reaction force that would cover Merton and Wandsworth.
Wimbledon is the only place that such a force could be located as it would allow for quick response times across the two boroughs. This would ensure security for residents in Wimbledon and across the borough by ensuring police officers would be better placed to respond to crimes than any other location, as well as keeping police close to Wimbledon Town Centre which has a night-time economy and a large transport hub which needs policing. Furthermore, if the rapid response is stationed at Wimbledon it is only sensible that it remains open as a police station.
After Labour councillors failed to support our fully costed plan for Merton Council to buy the police station, this is now the ONLY viable option on the table. This is also an entirely separate process from last year’s successful judicial review into the Mayor’s consultation. At the time, I welcomed the High Court’s judgment as it continued to highlight this important issue, however I pointed out it would not keep the police station open. It did not require the consultation to be re-run; there can simply be a decision by the Mayor on whether there is a need to postpone the closure, pending any evaluation of the new technology behind the scenes.
To help us continue the fight to save Wimbledon Police Station, and support our local police in their review of emergency policing locally, please sign our petition and share your views - www.savewimbledonpolicestation.co.uk