Sometimes if you keep pushing at a door – eventually it opens! At my recent meeting with our local Haringey Police Commander, Chief Superintendent Simon O’Brien, I asked him if we could have the new Highgate Safer Neighbourhood Team actually based in Highgate. After all, that’s what local people tell me they want. Police working and stationed in the area they patrol – rather than being based far away and travelling to the area as and when. And the good news is that he has agreed – subject to finding appropriate premises and the Metropolitan Police Estates Department agreeing. So we’re not home and dry yet!
I will be asking the Highgate ward councillors (my Lib Dem colleagues Neil Williams, Justin Portess and Bob Hare) to keep a look out for appropriate premises. In fact – if anyone reading this knows of somewhere suitable, let me know. I think it probably should be on a main thoroughfare – so that it is right bang where people walk past and not off the beaten track. I am going to go out with local officers in the autumn to walk the streets together to look for possible sites. It may not come off – there are a lot of people who still have to agree it – but best foot forward I say!
For years – ever since the old Highgate Police Station closed – local people have been asking for it to be re-opened. Unfortunately, this is not going to be the new home for the team. Highgate Police Station long ago ceased to be a working police station and for years now has housed other organisations (and once a building is no longer used by the police it is much, much harder to get it back).
It’s a shame in a way though that the old building won’t be put back into police use. I remember as a little girl being lost and going (or being taken I can’t remember) to the police station where a very nice policeman rang my mother. He said: ‘Mrs Ryness, I think I have your little girl here’. Sooooo Dixon of Dock Green and very kind!
This good news has come about because of the introduction of Safer Neighbourhood Teams coinciding with the need to modernise the police estate. It has finally been recognised that local policing is what people want – to make them feel safer and to be safer. At the same time – the old Victorian Police stations are no longer ‘fit for purpose’ to use the currently popular vernacular. So the idea of stationing local teams in the local area is an idea whose time has come! Way to go