Shoreditch police station could close to save money – because hardly anyone uses it, officials say
- Credit: Archant
Shoreditch police station could face the axe amid £400million cost-cutting plans for the Met.
The station in Shepherdess Walk is one of 20 across London that receive one or even sometimes no crime reports each day at its front counter, according to figures from May.
Stoke Newington, where five crimes are reported daily, would remain if plans laid out by the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (Mopac) are approved.
Hackney Central police station was sold to the Department for Education in 2014 for £7.6million, and the Met has already slashed £600m off its budget since 2012.
But another £400m of savings must be made by 2021, £200m of which has been identified, meaning a further £200m remains outstanding.
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“The backdrop to these ambitions is a prolonged period of reductions in funding for policing in London,” writes Sophie Linden in the document, adding that “tackling the financial challenge forces us to make some tough choices”.
Hackney’s former deputy mayor and crime chief, who took up the post of London’s deputy mayor for policing and crime last year, continued: “Only by diverting resources from places where they are no longer needed or used can we protect the front line in this way and deliver the greatest bang for Londoners’ buck.”
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Four safer neighbourhood bases would also be “disposed of” in the plans: in Haggerston Road and Orsman Road in Haggerston; Shacklewell Lane in Dalston; and the Urban Hive in Theydon Road, Upper Clapton; as well as the shared Hackney Service Centre.
It is estimated £170m of capital could be raised by closing “underused” front counters and selling “expensive to run” buildings that “only support back-office activity”. That money could be spent on improving technology available to officers on the front line as well as the £10m annual running costs, Mopac says. That’s the equivalent of more than 170 police officers.
“Every pound saved by closing a poorly used front counter is a pound of savings that we do not have to find by reducing officers,” the consultation adds.
Planning expert Nick Perry, who scrutinises applications through his work with the Hackney Society and conservation area advisory committees, estimated the police station could attract a price tag of £80m to £100m – based on the sale of a nearby property three years ago.
He pointed out that Tagwright House in the same block sold for £12.7m at the end of 2014 with a floor space of about 400 square metres. The police station is about five times that with a more prominent location and “few planning constraints”.
To read the Mopac report in full, visit the Mopac website.