Andy Slaughter, Labour MP for HammersmithShadow Minister for Justice House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA020 7219 6052 Dear Lucy,Thank you for letting me know about the proposed closures to police services in the borough. Youwill understand that this comes as a shock, particularly as you said you were not aware of anychanges to police station openings when we met three weeks ago. I am also dismayed that this is allhappening so quickly. I have had four working days to comment on the proposal to shut completelyShepherds Bush police station to the public (you ask for a response by Friday 19 November but Iassume that means by today).With other London MPs I met the Commissioner on 6 November. Again there was no mention of closures in Hammersmith & Fulham, and I have to conclude that these are being rushed through todeal with the high level of cuts imposed by the Government and the Mayor. I appreciate that this isnot your decision and I will obviously work with the police locally to ensure the community remainsas safe as possible, though this will not be helped if, as again is proposed at short notice, we have toshare a Borough Commander with another borough.The current cuts, coming on top of the loss of neighbourhood sergeants, will not be welcomed bythe local community. They bear the hallmark of the Deputy Mayor for policing. Hammersmith &Fulham residents will be familiar with his reputation for draconian and badly thought out cuts fromhis time as Council Leader here.Specifically, with regards to Shepherds Bush Police Station, I would say as follows:
Shepherds Bush has the highest levels of crime in the borough. Residents often expressconcern that there is not a 24-hour service there at present. Total closure of the publicreception will increase fears that the police are not immediately available in the area. I notefrom your statistics that there is a higher level of crime reporting at Shepherds Bush than atHammersmith.
You say there are no plans to close Shepherds Bush Police Station as a whole ‘at this stage’.
Does that means future closure plans will be considered?
I am sympathetic to your concern that staffing the front counter with warranted officerscould prevent them being on the streets. But why is it necessary to have officers rather thancivilian staff on duty? There will always be officers on hand to deal with emergencies, but
the ‘triage’ stage could surely be dealt with
by trained reception staff?
I already have concerns about the level of public response at Hammersmith PS and via
‘phone or email.
My personal experience and that of constituents is that attendingHammersmith entails long waits and often inconclusive or unsatisfactory responses fromstaff. Similarly, residents complain that messages left by email of voicemail are not repliedto quickly or at all. I emphasise that I am talking about non-emergency service here, but thismakes me worried about any loss of public access points.
I support the greater presence of police in supermarkets and other public places where theycan offer reassurance and advice. This is a logical extension of neighbourhood policing, but