Here’s my most recent Ham and High Column on Policing in Haringey
Policing in Haringey is undergoing major changes. This all started last year, when the Conservative Mayor of London announced that changes would be made to policing in Haringey and across the city.
In the current economic climate, changes have to be made to make policing more efficient and cost effective. But from day one, the Lib Dems were clear that any changes should not have a negative impact on public access to the police.
Police front counters, for instance, are vital local services – allowing victims to go and report crimes face to face, in a safe and secure environment. We all hope that we will never have to visit one, but it is certainly reassuring to know they’re there.
So, when the Mayor mentioned that front counters might be closed and replaced with contact points, we started expressing our concern and asking questions.
Straight away, Lib Dem London Assembly member Caroline Pidgeon asked the Mayor for a guarantee that there would be no time gap between a front counter closing and new contact point opening.
The Mayor gave this guarantee, and went on to say that no front counter would be lost without an ‘equivalent or indeed better’ replacement – open for the same number of hours.
During the consultation period, the Haringey Lib Dems and I called on the Mayor to keep to his word.
You can imagine our disappointment and anger when the Mayor announced his final plans, which include the closure of Muswell Hill volunteer counter. This would leave a huge chunk of the borough without proper access to front counter services.
Yes – changes had to be made, but not like this.
In response, I have launched a petition, calling on the Mayor to retain a local base for the Safer Neighbourhood Team on, or near, Muswell Hill Broadway with an accessible front counter for the public to report crimes.
Hundreds have signed already, and residents can add their names here: http://bit.ly/MuswellHillPolice
After launching the petition, I met with Haringey’s new Borough Commander – Victor Olisa. I was very pleased to hear that he had contacted the volunteers and is keen to keep a police presence in Muswell Hill. But Haringey Police need help finding a new location for the service – as the Met will be selling the building it currently operates from.
So, Haringey Police are willing to keep the volunteer counter service, but only if a suitable location can be found. Please contact me if you have any ideas for a suitable location for a front counter service in or around Muswell Hill.
We also saved this very front counter once before. With enough support from residents and Haringey Police, we can do the same again.