Brent police deny front counters could close - days before the Met announces they may

Three of the borough’s four front counters face the axe

Brent police denied any of their front counters would close – days before the Metropolitan Police announced it is considering closing 138 across London.

The London-wide force announced last weekend that it was considering plans to shut most of its front counters to cut costs, leaving a minimum of just one counter per borough which would be staffed round the clock, seven days a week.

The move could mean that three out of Brent’s four police stations, in Wembley, Willesden, Harlesden and Kilburn, face having their front counters closed permanently.

But when the Times contacted Brent police about the possible closures four days before the news was announced, the force was insistent that there were no plans to close front counters.

A spokesman said: “Our resources manager has been spoken to about the closure of front counters.

“There are no plans at this time to shut any of Brent’s front counters.”

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Critics have warned that closures would deter people from reporting crime.

Tony Antonio MBE, senior warden for Brent Neighbourhood Watch, said: “It is important for us to have our front counters – they reassure people.

“If you have a concern you want to share with the police, and nobody is at the station, then you get panicky and develop a bigger fear. People like to have a one-to-one rather than speak to somebody on the phone.

“Residents won’t be happy about this.

“It can put people off reporting crime if they have to travel too far. When people see the counter they feel safe.”

Mr Antonio pinned the blame on the government cuts, and called for the police’s budget to be ringfenced.

He said: “We need to support our police and to do this we must fund them properly. Safety is the community’s number one priority.”

The Met is reviewing the use of front counters as part of a wider survey into how people contact the police.

It runs into the summer.