With Woodford Police Station having been decommissioned and sold earlier this year, Sir Iain Duncan Smith MP explains why his successful campaign for a policing hub in the local area was vital
Having listened to residents and police officers alike, it is clear there was a need for a policing hub in Woodford, South Woodford or Woodford Green.
Following the Mayor of London’s wrong-headed decision to close Woodford Police Station, local Safer Neighbourhood Teams for Monkhams, Churchfields and South Woodford lost the police station they used as a base. This means they have to travel to Barkingside Police Station to use its facilities, often on public transport.
This seems to be an extremely poor use of police time and resources. Reducing the travel time for the Safer Neighbourhoods Teams would free up more resource hours to tackle local crime. This extra police time will be necessary to tackle the recent spate of dog thefts and the thefts of cars and catalytic convertors that are issues of real concern to my constituents.
The need to travel long distances also impacts the well-being and job satisfaction of officers, who feel they spend more time travelling to and from their wards than doing their job.
Residents, local officers and business owners have spoken to me about the importance of having designated police who understand the neighbourhood, know the local crime hotspots and build trust within the communities they serve. The whole area will benefit from a visible police base, which will provide reassurance to residents and assist in building relationships with the community.
Myself and local councillors are therefore pleased that, as a result of our continuous campaign, there has now been recognition of the need for a police hub here, with the recent announcement of a soon-to-be-opened venue in Woodford, which will serve the wards of South Woodford, Churchfields, and Monkhams.
We held a public meeting with the Borough Commander, Detective Chief Superintendent Stephen Clayman, where residents discussed the need for a stronger police presence in the area. This was in addition to letters to both the Detective Chief Superintendent and the Commissioner, Dame Cressida Dick, and our petition, which has been signed by almost 2,000 local residents.
I await further details from the Metropolitan Police on where the hub will be based and look forward to an official announcement from Redbridge Council regarding when it will be operational. I will continue to work with the council and the police to ensure the residents of Woodford have the resources that are needed here. The simple yet vital truth is that local people need to know the police officers who work in their neighbourhoods and feel reassured by a visible presence.
For more information on Sir Iain Duncan Smith’s campaign, visit swvg.co.uk/ids