This article first appeared in the Pimlico & Belgravia Eye.
Like many local people, I was incredibly disappointed in the Mayor of London’s decision to shut Belgravia Police Station.
As Mayor, it is Sadiq Khan’s job to keep us and our city safe. He is the Police and Crime Commissioner for our great city. Westminster already has witnessed record levels of crime under this Mayor, including a staggering 40% increase in weapon possession.
Many of you have contacted me to highlight your concerns that crime may rise after the pandemic, and with our police station closed, fear longer emergency response times and a dramatic increase in hardship for the most vulnerable in our community and those who struggle to report crimes online.
The entire situation has been consistently mismanaged by the Mayor and his Deputy Mayor for Policing, Sophie Linden. First the Westminster police team was merged with two other boroughs, which I fiercely opposed. Then despite assurances from the Deputy Mayor that Belgravia Police Station would remain open, the front reception was closed, and now the rest of the station is to follow suit.
The Mayor’s and Deputy Mayor’s actions are wrong. We have repeatedly heard unacceptable excuses for the closure of the station, blaming government cuts despite its pledge of £1.1 billion of investments into police forces in 2020/21. If the Mayor was serious about cutting crime and protecting our police, he could cut waste and invest. My colleagues on the GLA have found £45.2 million which could be invested into policing in London, the equivalent of 695 extra police officers.
The Government has stepped in where the Mayor has failed, and as part of the Beating Crime Plan, 20,000 new police officers are being recruited across the country by 2023. 1,708 police officers have already been recruited to the Metropolitan Police since September 2019, bringing the total number of officers to 33,651.
I have written to Sophie Linden expressing my concerns regarding her decision to close Belgravia Police Station for good. If like me you are appalled with the lack of action from the Mayor of London, and his decision to close our beloved Belgravia Police Station, show your support below.