Most of Croydon’s local police bases and contact points face closure as the Metropolitan Police confronts what is being described as a £400m funding cut.
The Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC) announced on Friday that Addington Police Station, along with the front counter at the Windmill Road custody suite, will close to the public amidst cost-cutting measures.
MOPAC is also planning to close bases at London Road in Norbury, Whytecliffe Road in Purley, and Parchmore Road, in Thornton Heath.
The changes mean that Croydon Police Station in Park Lane will be the only place it will be possible to report a crime in person in the borough.
The contact point set up at Croydon University Hospital following the 2011 London riots also faces closure.
Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan said that national funding cuts have left him with “no choice” but to reduce London’s police estate in order to protect the number of frontline officers.
The Government has denied the multi-million pound cuts and has insisted that they have protected police funding, however MOPAC argues that freezing funding will result in cuts of approximately £400m.
A spokesman for the Home Office said: “This Government will continue to ensure that the Metropolitan Police have the resources they need to cut crime and keep our communities safe.
“There is more money and more officers for each Londoner than anywhere else in the country.”
Extra cuts may also be made to Croydon’s Safer Neighbourhood bases that are used by local policing teams. In 2013, three police stations in Norbury, Kenley, and South Norwood were closed and Addington Police Station had its weekly opening hours cut from 55 to three.
Announcing the closure plan Sadiq Khan said: “My top priority is keeping Londoners safe, and every pound saved by closing a front counter is a pound of savings that we do not have to find by reducing the frontline.
“By freeing up officers and moving them closer to their communities, they will be able to spend more time on the beat to tackle the issues that matter most to Londoners, such as knife crime, antisocial behaviour, hate crime and extremism, and domestic abuse.
“We will still be able to maintain a 24/7 front counter service in every borough and are improving the telephone and online services that Londoners value so highly.
The Government urgently needs to properly fund the Met Police so that they can do their job and keep Londoners safe.”
The Met Police announced last year that bases in Crystal Palace, Selsdon, Coulsdon, Shirley, and Addiscombe Central Hill would all close.
MOPAC said that crimes are increasingly reported by telephone or online and released data suggesting that 37 percent of Londoners would prefer to contact the police online.
An average of 4.5 crimes a day were reported at Croydon Police Station in May of this year, while only 0.3 a day were reported at Windmill Road, Croydon’s main custody centre and one of the bases facing closure.
According to MOPAC, closing the “poorly-used” front counters will save £10m a year and will raise £170m if they are sold across the capital. MOPAC also said the proposed closure of the bases will save around £4.6m yearly.
After policing budgets were cut by 20% nationally, the Met was forced to make £600m in savings between 2010 and 2015, MOPAC said.
MOPAC opened a three-month public consultation last Friday on the proposed cuts.
If the closure plans are successful after the consultation, MOPAC says it will base displaced officers at “new, smaller hubs far closer to the ward and community they patrol”.