Wood Green police station: latest plans

Wood Green police station film screenshotHere’s my latest column for the Ham & High:

The police are planning to expand their presence in Wood Green – keeping the existing police station in use but also moving the front counter to the Fishmongers Arms (right next to the Civic Centre, closer to the centre of Wood Green, closer to where people congregate and closer to the crime hotspots).

I was impressed with the new front counter – not yet in use – when I went with Cllr Robert Gorrie (Leader of the Liberal Democrats on Haringey Council) to see it and meet the local Commander, Dave Grant.

Having staffed and open police stations in the heart of our community is central to the fight against crime and the fear of crime. It gives us a police service that knows its community and whose community knows it. That’s why I fought for so longer to get the Muswell Hill front counter reopened.

The new front counter in Wood Green is much better equipped and located than the current one. It’s all ready to go – brand, spanking new – and has the advantage that local people would be able to use the front counter to report their problems in a much more peaceful and calm atmosphere – no longer needing to mix with the less salubrious side of station life with those who have to report to the police station, and so on.

If the existing building is also kept in use for police services, such as cells and a base for patrol cars etc, then this means overall a bigger and better police presence in Wood Green. Hurrah!

If!

We need to be sure that moving the front counter doesn’t become an excuse to cut back, sell off property – and leave us with fewer services. That has to be the concern in these times of economic uncertainty.

And then there’s still the question of exactly what policing will be done from the existing police station building. The police have promised a public consultation on that – including the possibility of moving the front counter back from the Fishmongers Arms, if it isn’t a success in its new location and local people want it moved back.

We also need to make sure that any building work on the old police station preserves its historic front, which is a real architectural gem that adds to our community. Last time the police made proposals for the station the local community was rightly up in arms at the insensitive architectural designs. That planning application was withdrawn and we await a new one, due to be submitted in the autumn.

So we should be due two chances to have our say – the public consultation on police services in the area and also the planning application for the Victorian police station building.

But ahead of that the police want to try out starting to use the new facilities at the Fishmongers Arms – moving their front counter service from the existing police station to the new location.

I know some people have been skeptical about this, worried that it’s a way for the police to preempt those two chances for us to have our say later in the year.

But if it is a genuine trial, making use of new expanded premises and with a commitment written in blood that the final decisions will only come after we’ve been consulted – then it means we get to try out the new services sooner and it makes for a better decision in the end if there’s some practical experience to draw on.

So this is a debate which will run for some time – and do let me know your own views.

You can also watch my latest film about Wood Green police station:

0 thoughts on “Wood Green police station: latest plans

  1. “It has the advantage that local people would be able to use the front counter to report their problems in a much more peaceful and calm atmosphere – no longer needing to mix with the less salubrious side of station life with those who have to report to the police station, and so on.”

    I think this is a good idea. I am sure there are many less forward citizens who feel a bit intimidated in the old atmosphere, some might even decide not to visit the station. Anything that encourages them to use the police service when needed is a positive.

  2. Although it is useful to have the police counter open day and night the suggested change of use of the original police station buildingis still a cause for concern by local residents. We have campaigned strongly against the existing building/site being used as the only Haringey base for patrol cars. This would lead to the intrusion of noise in all the surrounding residential roads, day and night. There is also a matter of Police Cars racing along Nightingale Road which is a 20 m.p.h zone to all other car users. We were also less than happy that most of Haringey’s police cells should be placed in one area. We were led to believe that if so many holding cells were in one area then that those charged with offences will have to return to this police station when on bail. To have the vast majority of Haringey’s criminals drawn to one residential area is not an appealing prospect. It is a pity Lynn hasn’t talked with the Residents Association and Community Association which represent this area, and defended the alteration of the police station when the original plans were submitted, their views.

  3. Hi Kate – the police have promised to consult on future use of the police station – so objections to cell blocks or racing cars will presumably be the objections raised during that process. Of course I know about the unhappiness in regard of the last planning application that was withdrawn – hence the three conditions for continuing the process. Happy to talk with you any time – but did get briefed on your views – hence the conditional tone. What I do think is better – are the new front counter facilities at the Fishmongers. The old counter in the virtually disused police station are dire. And have you seen the mess outside the front (which I have taken up with the Commander). It makes it look derelict and unkempt. If you would like to meet – just email featherstonel@parliament.uk and Sofia will arrange a meeting.

  4. I saw about ten police officers running down an alley after a shoplifter maybe community police i saw about six hanging round a bus station. the waste of public money bothers me more than counters. especially as their is talk of making people work till they drop dead by prolonging the pension age. we cant look after our old but we ponce about regarding counters.

  5. I look forward to a new and improved front desk service. The old station is an horrendous place. My daughter and I spent hours waiting there to make a report and most of this time was spent standing up as seating was minimal, not the best experience when you have been a victim of crime. My son was robbed over the weekend and the thought of going to the station to make a report filled both of us with dread and in the end this crime went unreported. The opening of new facilities cannot come too soon..