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Put millions from police station sell-off back into local officers

Catherine West, Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Hornsey and Wood Green, calls for the money made from the sale of Muswell Hill’s police station to be reinvested into community policing.

Ham and High Broadway, 9.8.14.

I remember well the Broadway’s front page earlier this year, featuring Muswell Hill and Fortis Green Association chairman John Hajdu outside Muswell Hill police station, closed and up for sale.

As Mr Hajdu said at the time, “a long history of police presence in our area has come to an end”.

Now we hear that the building has been sold, along with other police-owned properties in the area, for almost £13million.

Many residents have echoed Mr Hadju’s safety concerns, not just in relation to the closure of Muswell Hill police station, but also in relation to the sharp reduction in police counter services at Hornsey Police Station.

Across Haringey as a whole, there has been a reduction in police officers of 116 since May 2010 and in community support officer of 79.

The decision by the Home Office to reduce funding to the Metropolitan Police is surprising.

The coalition has of course made no secret of its aim to reduce public spending and create a ‘small state’. Billions of public funding has been outsourced to the private sector since 2010.

But public safety must be paramount. So there is a real lack of logic in cutting back the police service when there is a clear need for it.

Moreover, the success story of London’s policing over recent years has been its community safety presence, with an emphasis on prevention and ‘bobbies on the beat’.

Now that presence is seriously at risk, and it is regrettable that despite being in power as a Home Office minister, Hornsey and Wood Green’s Liberal Democrat MP failed to intervene when these severe cuts to neighbourhood policing budgets were made: cuts which, as Met Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe said, have made the balance of London’s neighbourhood policing teams ‘go the wrong way’.

That is why I have called for the £13million capital receipt from the sale of Muswell Hill police properties to be used on increasing Hornsey and Wood Green’s police numbers, recycling that funding back into bobbies on the beat.

Adequate policing is key to the fair, prosperous and safe community we all want to see.

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Catherine West

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