Police hub hopes


With planning permission for the development of the former Woodford Police Station recently refused, Sir Iain Duncan Smith MP renews his call for a new permanent police hub in the Woodford area

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, made the appalling decision to shut the police station in Woodford in 2020, dismissing our concerns here that there would be no local police base as a result. Since then, my constituents and I have been campaigning for a new police hub.

The closure meant local Safer Neighbourhood Teams for Monkhams, Churchfields and South Woodford wards have been deprived of the police station they used as a base. Forced instead to travel every day from Barkingside Police Station by public transport.

The ludicrous outcome is that our local police spend a significant amount of time travelling in and out of Woodford, rather than policing the area. A hub here, which we have been promised, would free up more resource hours to tackle local crime. Importantly, being seen in the area would reassure residents.

I have been working hard to secure a permanent police hub in the Woodford area. I am pleased that the borough commander for Redbridge, Stuart Bell, following our campaign, has recognised the need for a police hub in Woodford to cover the wards of South Woodford, Churchfields and Monkhams. The campaign – which included a petition with over 2,000 signatures and a public meeting – made it clear residents want an increased police presence in the area. 

In the run-up to the local elections in 2022, Redbridge Council claimed they had secured a police hub; however, since then, no such hub has materialised. Peoples’ hopes were raised only to be dashed; they are now sick and tired of empty promises. I have lost count of the number of residents who have told me they want police who visit the local shops to be seen out and about deterring criminals, something they never see now. The public safety of those living in the area must be an absolute priority for Redbridge Council and the police. Residents want to see the police on the beat, knowing the police will respond quickly and efficiently to tackle crime and antisocial behaviour. Neighbourhood policing is at the core of cutting crime, and Safer Neighbourhoods Teams need to be appropriately resourced to tackle the challenges of their areas. 

Reducing local crime and antisocial behaviour has always been the priority for all of us. I am working closely with our local councillors and the police, and I welcome new Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley’s public commitment to neighbourhood policing. I welcome his confirmation of an extra 3,109 police for the Met, but repeat Woodford needs the police to have a proper patrol base to use their time efficiently for the benefit of my constituents. That’s why we need and want a police hub now!

Sir Iain Duncan Smith is the Conservative MP for Chingford and Woodford Green. For more information, visit swvg.co.uk/ids