Have your say on the Mayor of London’s Police and Estate Plans

The Mayor of London has released his draft Police and Crime Plan and draft Estate Strategy for consultation.

Documents here: http://www.london.gov.uk/priorities/policing-and-crime/community-engagement 

What are the Mayor’s Plans?

The Mayor of London’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC) has issued a challenge to the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS):

20% Cut in 7 priority Crimes; 20% Boost in public confidence; 20% Reduction in Spend (20/20/20)

The MPS needs to save £500m by 2015.

The documents propose significant changes and reform in London’s policing, including:

–       Flatter structure with more police constables and fewer supervisors and managers;

Reduced running costs and estate cut from c500 buildings to 300 buildings;

–       More officers in the boroughs – visible, accessible, accountable, reconnecting police & public in intelligent ways

–       Local Policing Model is key – dedicated borough commander, inspector led teams in Local Police Areas (clusters of wards);

–       New modes of public access – online, phone, “Police come to us”.  More people are now connecting by 101 and 999, and online.

What changes might we see on the front line?

  • Reduced Safer Neighbourhood Teams.  Inspector-led teams will work in Local Police Areas (clusters of wards).  Every Ward will have a named sergeant and there will be one dedicated police constable and one PCSO per ward.
  • Southwark police numbers will remain broadly the same and there will be a general team of officers flexibly deployed across the borough – proactive squads and tasking teams;
  • Closed front counters at 65 police stations across London, including East Dulwich. Some boroughs will only have one front counter;
  • Opening of new ‘contact points’ in public and other buildings such as council offices, supermarkets and post offices. The location of these is unknown at this stage.

Nothing will be decided until the consultation is complete.

What police stations are closing and where will the police officers be based?

The draft Estate Strategy (p.38-42) lists 65 police front counters proposed for closure.

Locally the front closures proposed for closure are: Camberwell; East Dulwich; Gypsy Hill; Sydenham and South Norwood.

This could mean a massive black hole in the Dulwich area with no police front counters nearby to report crime.

We don’t yet know where Safer Neighbourhood Teams and front line police will be based.   The local Southwark borough commander assured the Dulwich Community Council in November that the Seeley Drive office in Dulwich will be retained as a base.

Local politicians and the Safer Neighbourhood Panels (SNP) have been seeking assurances from the Mayor and the Commissioner for the Metropolitan Police that no front counter will be closed until an alternative facility has been opened.

How can we have our say in the consultation?

The consultation on the Draft Police and Crime Plan and the Estate Strategy has now started and the first public consultations took place on Wednesday 9 January in Lambeth and Southwark.

Dulwich residents, Safer Neighbourhood Panels (SNP) and local politicians attended the Southwark Consultation on 9 January.  Some of the issues raised were:

–       The geographical “black hole” in Dulwich with no nearby police stations and no confirmed local bases for officers;

–       Concern about loss of efficiency through police officers wasting time criss-crossing boroughs to deal with incidents far away from their bases;

–       Provision of police vehicles to expedite incident attendance;

–       There will be a significant management overhead in bedding down the reformed system and reducing management numbers may not be feasible;

–       Concerns about the viability of the 1PC + 1PCSO model in the reformed SNTs;

–       The quality of police service to the public, and particularly services to victims of crime.

The consultation runs until 6 March 2013 and there will be public meetings in every London borough.  If you would like to attend a meeting see http://www.london.gov.uk/events/policing-and-crime-consultation-events?source=mopac  for further details.

You can feed in your views via an online survey, or you can write to, or email the Mayor:

c/o Siobhan Coldwell

Head of Strategy

Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime

10 Dean Farrar Street

London, SW1H 0NY

policeandcrimeplan@mopac.london.gov.uk

The online questionnaire limits responses to 150 words per question, and also contains a yes/no question about whether the focus should be on maintaining police numbers or keeping police buildings.

It is important that we do all respond to it

Front counters at the following police stations in Southwark and adjoining boroughs are proposed for closure:

Croydon

PURLEY, WHYTECLIFFE ROAD SOUTH 9 & 11
KENLEY POLICE STATION
ADDINGTON POLICE STATION
NORBURY POLICE STATION
SOUTH NORWOOD POLICE STATION

Lambeth

CAVENDISH ROAD POLICE STATION
CLAPHAM POLICE STATION
GIPSY HILL POLICE STATION

Lewisham

BROCKLEY POLICE STATION
SYDENHAM POLICE STATION

Southwark

CAMBERWELL POLICE STATION
EAST DULWICH POLICE STATION (NEW)
ROTHERHITHE POLICE STATION

Another New Date for the Velodrome Planning Committee!

Southwark Council has changed the date of its meeting to consider the Velodrome’s planning application again!

It is convening a meeting of the Main Planning Committee on the 29th of January to consider the application – with it being the only item on the agenda.

Residents are still waiting, however, to see the lighting display which is a key element of the planning application which could greatly affect us.

We should now expect the planners report soon, when it is received a consultative residents’ group will meet to sturdy it.

Lively Public Meeting with the Police

This police meeting was quite a revelation: attended by high profile politicians including Simon Hughes, Tessa, Harriet; Dulwich councillors and residents made a big impact.  Many spoke and hammered home the point about geographical isolation as police stations in adjoining boroughs also closing and there is a big black hole in the south of our boroughs.

Simon and Harriet raised important concerns re quality of police service. The police could not confirm that there would not be issues about police travelling to and fro from Dulwich.

In their closing statements we picked up from AC Simon Byrne who is responsible for territorial operations that they may review the police station closures in view of concerns raised about the “black hole”.

Harriet Harman MP addressing the public meeting with the Police on 9th January.
Harriet Harman MP addressing the public meeting with the Police on 9th January.

Homage to Hepworth

200 people packed the Michael Croft Theatre at Alleyn’s School last Thursday 10th Jan for a wonderful celebratory evening of the Hepworth Bronze sculpture “Two Forms” stolen from Dulwich Park over a year ago on 19/20 December 2011.  Tessa Jowell told the audience that the bronze was beyond price and a fitting replacement would be found, while Southwark councillor Barrie Hargrove said a shortlist of proposals would be announced in June, with the work to be completed next year.

Many thanks are due to Trevor Moore of the Friends of Dulwich Park (http://www.dulwichparkfriends.org.uk/) who co-ordinated the evening and the creation of the beautiful dance film celebrating the Hepworth “The Empty Shoes” which can be seen at http://t.co/IzXGu57X.  Please do take a look at this stunning film shot in Dulwich Park and pass the link on to your friends and contacts.

Many people ask why the bronze cannot be recast, but as Tate Curator, Chris Stephens explained on Thursday, the Hepworth Trustees declared there should be no posthumous recasting of her works.   Now senior figures from the Royal Academy have suggested that given the circumstances of the theft and likely total loss of the original sculpture it would be worth exploring a recasting with the Hepworth Estate and family.  More at http://www.standard.co.uk/news/londoners-diary/tate-sides-with-hepworth-estate-over-stolen-bronze-8447828.html

Extensive Tree Cutting planned for Belair Park – Public Meeting on 17 January

Southwark Council is proposing to cut a lot of trees in Belair Park and is convening an information session on 17 January 18:00-19:00 in Dulwich Park about it.

The Friends of Belair Park & New Leaf have invited all inteerested in trees to go along and find out more and put the case, if they wish, for alternatives.

These are the two notices:

Invitation from the Friends of Belair Park & New Leaf

The Southwark Council Tree Section is holding an information session regarding the upcoming tree works taking place in Belair Park (1)

Leader of Southwark Council replies to our complaint

Thank you for your email dated 4th of December 2012.  Similar concerns have been raised with me by College Ward councillors.

The decision to move to a more centralised approach to planning was based on a number of factors.  Firstly, we found that we were the unsuccessful respondents in a disproportionate number of planning appeals in respect of matters determined at Community Council planning committees.

Secondly, and more importantly, we did have to find a way to reduce the costs of Community Council meetings following government funding cuts to us as a local authority of nearly £90 million.  In order to achieve the level of savings we required we were forced to centralise the decision-making process.

However, I take on board your point about having some planning meetings in Dulwich and I will look into the possibility of achieving this in 2013.  Similarly, we will undertake a review of all changes to Community Councils in the new year.

With best wishes,

Cllr Peter John
Leader of Southwark Council
Labour Councillor for South Camberwell