Boris Johnson joins Met Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe in Dalston to announce controversial policing plan
PUBLISHED: 19:06 26 March 2013 | UPDATED: 19:06 26 March 2013
Boris Johnson received a warm welcome from traders and shoppers at Dalston’s Ridley Road market yesterday, following a tough BBC television interview the previous day.
The London Mayor had joined Met Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe in Dalston to launch the Met’s controversial policing strategy, which aims to shave £60m off running costs by 2015.
The news threatened to be overshadowed by the furore caused on Sunday when BBC presenter Eddie Mair called Mr Johnson a nasty piece of work on the Andrew Marr show because of a series of alleged incidents in his past.
Mr Johnson spoke about the allegations, which were aired in a BBC Two documentary Monday night, The Irresistible Rise.
“Mair asked about old stories exhaustively examined in previous election campaigns — hold the front page for old news,” he told throngs of journalists, photographers and members of the public gathered around him in the market.
Mr Johnson and the Commissioner were also quizzed by journalists about the Police and Crime Plan, which has been drawn up by the Mayor’s Office for Policing And Crime (MOPAC) up following an eight-week consultation with Londoners.
The plan confirmed Hackney Police Station in Lower Clapton Road will close and Shoreditch Police Station in Shepherdess Walk will be downgraded with severely reduced opening hours.
Only Stoke Newington Police Station in the High Street will remain open 24 hours a day, and Safer Neighbourhood Team bases in Shacklewell Lane, Dalston, Haggerston Road and Homerton Hospital will be introduced as contact points for the public.
City Hall claims thousands more officers will be put on the streets thanks to the plans, however Jennette Arnold who has long-since contested the Mayor’s figures claims otherwise.
The Labour London Assembly Member for North London said: “The plan repeats the claim that Hackney will see an increase in police numbers, when in fact there will be a decrease of 48 police officers.
“Boris is peddling his tired old line that his plan won’t cut frontline police services.
“It’s time he was honest with residents and tells them he failed to get a good deal from government and now we are paying the price.”
But a MOPAC spokeswoman said the figures were correct.
“They are based on budgeted numbers for police officers in October 2011, looking ahead to 2015,” she said.
“Neither Hackney or any other borough in the capital will not lose officers, instead there will be an extra 2,600 officers in neighbourhood teams.”
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