Boris slammed over proposed police station closures in Tower Hamlets
PUBLISHED: 11:59 22 January 2013 | UPDATED: 11:59 22 January 2013
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Boris Johnson has been slammed over his proposals to close three of the six police stations in Tower Hamlets during a fierce exchange with the borough’s London Assembly Member at City Hall.
John Biggs, who represents the City and East constituency that covers Tower Hamlets - and hopes to stand in Tower Hamlets mayoral elections next year - slated the controversial plans as going “too far, too fast”.
As reported in the Advertiser last week, police stations in Poplar, Bow, and the Isle of Dogs, have all been earmarked for the chop.
City Hall bosses and police chiefs are set to attend a series of public meetings in every London borough as part of a consultation process on the Met’s attempt to slash £500million from its budget by 2016, and will be in Tower Hamlets tomorrow.
Mr Biggs, who criticised the mayor during a question and answer session at City Hall last Wednesday (January 16), said: “I challenged Boris on his planned cuts to the police and reminded him of his commitment that no front counter would close unless an equivalent replacement had been identified.
“Unsurprisingly he did not give me a straight answer to this.
“He is cutting too far, too fast and is hitting the frontline. On top of this he is stripping back our local Safer Neighbourhood Police Teams - this will mean fewer locally based police officers.”
The borough has already “lost” 109 officers since 2010, he added.
But a spokeswoman for the Mayor of London insisted it’s impossible to compare like-for-like policing numbers because of changes to how officers are assigned and counted – and said the proposals will actually result in 92 extra officers in Tower Hamlets.
She added Mr Johnson wants to “put bobbies before buildings” and added: “We are proposing some front counter closures, but we’re open to creative solutions about how we can improve public access to the police. Over the next two months we will be visiting every borough in London to hear what people have to say about the plan.”
• The Tower Hamlets public meeting is due to take place tomorrow (Thursday, January 24) from 8pm, at the Skeel Lecture Theatre, in the People’s Palace Building of Queen Mary University in Mile End Road. Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime, Stephen Greenhalgh, and Assistant Commissioner, Simon Byrne, will be there. Visit www.london.gov.uk/mopac for more information.
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