Public meeting about Notting Hill police station closure
As part of the ongoing consultation on the Metropolitan Police’s proposed closure of 41 front counters, the Met is inviting all residents to a face-to-face discussion with the borough commander for Kensington and Chelsea, Chief Superintendent Ellie O’Connor, and Chief Inspector Chris Mahaffey, about the proposed closure of Notting Hill police station. The meeting will be held at St John’s Notting Hill Church, Landsdowne Crescent, on Tuesday 15 August at 1pm.
Main entrance to Notting Hill police station. Picture from Google Street View, (c) Google
The Met must reduce the budget with £400 million by 2021, in order to meet the government’s demand for spending cuts. This follows a £600 million cut since 2010. In order to achieve this second budget reduction, the Met plans to reduce the number of front counters (i.e. police stations open to the public) from 73 to 32. The plans are outlined in a consultation paper about the Met’s “public access engagement strategy”, which we wrote about in more detail a week ago.
For Kensington, the plan is to close and sell Notting Hill police station, and to move its 24 hour front counter to Kensington police station (where the front desk currently is only available daytime).
The Met’s main argument for closing front counters is that the public less and less often visit police stations when they want to report crimes. In 2006, 22% of all crime reports were done by people visiting front counters. Ten years later, in 2016, that figure had dropped to 8%. The remaining 92% were mainly reported over the telephone.
In order to compensate for the loss of front counters, the Met plans to improve its online services and double the number of ward dedicated officers. These will start and finish their shifts at small local hubs, instead of at a police station far from the ward they patrol, and will be given better technology, so they can do much of their “paperwork” on foot instead of behind a desk at a station.