News has broken that High Barnet police station faces the axe from London’s Labour Mayor, Sadiq Khan. The station was earmarked for closure once before but it was kept open by the then-Mayor, Boris Johnson, after pressure from Theresa Villiers. It currently serves the Chipping Barnet constituency.
Residents are able to report crimes at the front desk and speak face-to-face with a local police officer. If the High Barnet station closed, the nearest police station providing this service would be Colindale in the west of the borough: for a High Barnet or East Barnet resident, this would involve up to an hour’s journey by public transport.
Local MP Theresa Villiers, who over the past year has called for a greater share of London’s policing resources to be allocated to Barnet, is speaking out against the plans. She has challenged the Mayor’s Office over the current allocation formula, which distributes policing resources according to the perceived needs to each area: Theresa has questioned whether this approach still reflects reality, after the population shift from inner London out towards the suburbs.
Theresa said: “High Barnet police station’s front desk provides face to face contact for residents. A resident without a car in, say, East Barnet village would have to make an hour’s journey involving 2 or 3 buses to get to the police station in Colindale. Expecting vulnerable elderly people to have to make this journey in order to report a crime is not acceptable.
“Barnet already gets a raw deal from Sadiq Khan in the way police resources are allocated around Great London. The amount we get from the Mayor in terms of money and bobbies on the beat doesn’t reflect our population. I am calling on Mayor Khan to re-think his plans on Barnet Police station. I accept that the way the police engage with the public is changing and that police station front desks are not the only way to report a crime and get help from local officers. But I continue to believe that Barnet Police Station performs a much valued function for my constituents. I campaigned successfully to save it a few years ago and will do the same again.”