Notting Hill Police Station, which serves as an important base for policemen during the annual Notting Hill carnival, is to be closed and sold, according to the savings plan produced by the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime.
Second public meeting about Notting Hill police station closure
Directly after the hastily organised public meeting on 15 August about the proposed closure of Notting Hill police station, the Metropolitan Police has decided to arrange a second public meeting at St John’s Notting Hill Church, Landsdowne Crescent, on Wednesday 6 September at 7pm, in order to give more residents a chance to be informed and voice their opinion about the savings plan for the Met.
The meeting will be attended by Detective Superintendent Paul Warnett from the borough police force and an official from the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC), which is the office responsible for the savings plan.
In the meantime, a 38 Degrees campaign to save Notting Hill police station has already garnered more than 1,200 signatures.
The plan to close and sell the Notting Hill police station, and to move all staff and facilities to Kensington police station, is one element in MOPAC’s savings plan for the Met’s, which is currently on consultation. The plan has been made to meet the government’s demand on the Met to reduce its budget with £400 million by 2021. This follows a £600 million cut since 2010. Notting Hill police station would be one of 41 police stations in Greater London to be closed.
The main argument for closing stations, is that the public very seldom visits police stations to report crimes nowadays. In 2016, only 8% of crimes were reported through visits to a police station. The remaining 92% were mainly reported over the telephone.
In order to compensate for the loss of police stations, the plan is to improve the Met’s online services and double the number of ward dedicated officers. These will be given better technology, so they can do much of their “paperwork” while on patrol, and will start and finish their shifts at small local hubs instead of at a police station far from the ward they patrol.
Those campaigning against the closure of the station argue that of the 73 existing police stations in Greater London, Notting Hill has the 16th highest number of front counter reported crimes (i.e. crime reports made by people visiting the station), yet it is among the 32 proposed to be axed. The station has also demonstrated its importance as support centre for people in North Kensington in the aftermath of the Grenfell Tower disaster. And while more ward officers are welcome, these only work office hours and can’t compensate for the loss of a 24 hour police station.