Article reproduced from the Brent and Kilburn Times
The Mayor of London has announced today he is proposing to shut two police stations in Brent as part of sweeping cuts.
Harlesden and Willesden Police Station are included on a list of 65 front counters facing the axe as part of a plan to save £500million over three years.
Two police stations have survived the cull, Wembley and Kilburn, although the latter will only open its front counters during ‘daytime hours’.
Harlesden is expected to remain as a base for officers and Safer Neighbourhood Teams, but the Willesden site is expected to be sold off.
The announcement ends years of speculation about the future of both stations.
Willesden Green Police Station was the former headquarters to the borough’s Sapphire team, who investigates sex crimes, who have since been moved to Kilburn.
Until last year it was the base of Brent Council’s anti social behaviour team.
Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, said: “Putting more officers on the streets is key to driving down crime and boosting public confidence in the police and that is why it is at the heart of our plans for policing in the capital.
“In the current economic climate there is no denying that tough decisions will have to be made but policing in the capital is changing and we must change with it by creating a police force that is ready to tackle the issues that matter most to Londoners.”
However, Cllr Lincoln Beswick, Brent Council’s lead member for crime and community safety, said the decision would have a devastating effect on the borough.
He said: “This needs to be thought out more carefully.
“Harlesden has its challenges and it is the centre of much activity. It is a 24-hour town so it requires police presence.
“It would be devastating if Harlesden Police Station is completely closed down.”
It has also emerged that the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime is in talks with the Post Office over using their high street branches as location points.
A pilot will start in the summer where members of the public would use branches to report crimes or make general enquiries.
In addition, under a new policing model, specialist crime squads will be axed and 4,600 officers moved into new neighbourhood teams led by a ‘Sheriff’- style borough commander accountable for meeting targets and cutting crime in their area.