Growing fears of Gipsy Hill police station closure
There are growing concerns that Gipsy Hill Police Station will be closed as part of wide ranging police cuts in the capital.
Concerns were raised last week when a police inspector told a neighbourhood meeting about the proposed closure, though a Lambeth police superintendent said he was not aware of any planned closure.
The Metropolitan Police is looking to save £600m by 2015, and David Green, who chaired the Gipsy Hill Safer Neighbourhood Panel meeting last week, said the panel were told the police station would close from spring.
Mr Green said: "Now is the time for the Lambeth community to demand a stop to this short-sighted economic madness and insist that there be no officer reductions at ward level and that there will be an established point of contact for the public in Gipsy Hill."
Councillor Jack Hopkins, who also attended the meeting, said the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) would have to decide whether to keep the station operational.
But Coun Hopkins said: "I feel that neighbourhood police need a neighbourhood base from which to operate. The closure of Gipsy without a replacement puts that at risk so I will be speaking to the borough commander about the matter."
Councillor Jennifer Brathwaite said: "Last week we were given the devastating news of the decision to close Gipsy Hill police station and cut to the number of officers on the ground.
"This is a shameful attack on our police service and our community."
On Wednesday, September 19, Lambeth police’s Operations Superintendent Andy Howe said he did not know of any plans to close the station.
He said: "I’m not aware of Gipsy Hill station coming up for closure anytime soon."
However, he said the whole of the Metropolitan Police Service estate, containing over 800 buildings, was under review.
He said: "We have a great deal of financial savings to make."
He added police could not say whether the neighbourhood team would be reduced until the new local policing model is brought in.
The reorganisation involves officers being transferred from back-room roles and teams merging to ensure as many constables as possible are out in the community as management costs are reduced.
It is thought East Dulwich Police Station is also under threat of closing and being sold off by the Metropolitan Police Service as it seeks to save millions of pounds from its budget.
The Mayor’s office has already agreed South Norwood police station can be sold off, sparking concerns policing could be affected.
Lavender Hill and Richmond police station have also featured on a London Assembly document listing the capital’s station that had been approved for closure or disposal.
A police spokesman said no permission had been sought to close Gipsy Hill Police Station.
A statement said: "No proposals for this building have been put to the MOPAC (Mayor’s Office for Policing & Crime), but we are reviewing it in light of operational requirements in the borough and across the capital.
"We will continue to develop our strategy for this building as this could provide an opportunity to improve the estate at the same time as delivering substantial savings that will allow the MPS to protect operational capability."
Inspector Tony Gumbleton MBE, of the Norwood cluster, who spoke at the Safer Neighbourhood Panel meeting last week, could not be reached for comment.