Politician fears police station closures will result in crime hike in Brent

Navin Shah claims residents will suffer from front counters cull

The number of officers on the beat could be slashed while crime could surge after plans to close two Brent police stations were revealed by the mayor, a senior politician claimed.

Navin Shah, Labour London Assembly member for Brent and Harrow, has spoken out after the Mayor of London announced today the Harlesden and Willesden Police Stations were to lose their front counters.

Mr Shah lambasted the decision, saying: “As far as local policing goes this will be disastrous in driving down crime, visibility of uniformed police in local areas and maintaining confidence.

“I am deeply worried that local crime could go up which would be a huge setback for Brent Police.

“I totally condemn the proposed closure of Willesden and Harlesden Police Stations. It is an act of vandalism to close police stations in deprived areas like Harlesden.

“It is vital that residents have access to local police stations.”

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Boris Johnson revealed the two were included in a list of 65 across London as part of sweeping cuts.

Mr Johnson is aiming to save �500million over the next three years.

He said: “Putting more officers on the streets is key to driving down crime and boosting public confidence in the police and that is why it is at the heart of our plans for policing in the capital.

“In the current economic climate there is no denying that tough decisions will have to be made but policing in the capital is changing and we must change with it by creating a police force that is ready to tackle the issues that matter most to Londoners.”

He added the numbers of officers in Brent will rise from 658 in October 2011 to 660 by 2015 with 98 more Safer Neighbourhood (SNT) officers.

But, Mr Shah dispute his figures saying that new analysis shows that compared to 2010 many boroughs will lose officers including Brent who will lose 35.

He said: “The Mayor will strip out our local SNT which are vital in fighting crime in London. SNTs build local knowledge and get to know their patch, the proposals today look very much like a return to the old model of sector policing which does not have this strong local link.”

Under the proposals Wembley and Kilburn Police Stations will retain their front counters although the latter will only be open during ‘daytime hours’.

Mr Shah fears this decision could leave Kilburn Police Station in jeopardy.

He said: I’m very worried about the future of this police station which was at one stage being considered for closure. I urge Brent’s residents and businesses to strongly oppose Mayor’s plans of dramatic reduction in police service that will only make matters worse for Brent.”

An eight-week consultation into the proposed closures has been launched

For more details visit http://www.london.gov.uk/priorities/policing-and-crime/community-engagement.