Muswell Hill volunteer police front counter is under threat again. The Mayor of London has ear marked it for closure, so I have started a petition and joined forces with Haringey police to find an alternative location for the counter in Muswell Hill.
This all started last year, when the Conservative Mayor of London announced that changes would be made to policing in Haringey and across the city.
In the current economic climate, changes have to be made to make policing more efficient and cost effective. But from day one, the Lib Dems were clear that any changes should not have a negative impact on public access to the police.
Police front counters, for instance, are vital local services – allowing victims to go and report crimes face to face, in a safe and secure environment. We all hope that we will never have to visit one, but it is certainly reassuring to know they’re there.
So, when the Mayor mentioned that front counters might be closed and replaced with contact points, we started expressing our concern and asking questions.
Straight away, Lib Dem London Assembly member Caroline Pidgeon asked the Mayor for a guarantee that there would be no time gap between a front counter closing and new contact point opening.
The Mayor gave this guarantee, and went on to say that no front counter would be lost without an ‘equivalent or indeed better’ replacement – open for the same number of hours.
During the consultation period, the Haringey Lib Dems and I called on the Mayor to keep to his word.
So, you can imagine our disappointment and anger when the Mayor announced his final plans, which include the closure of Muswell Hill volunteer counter. This would leave a huge chunk of the borough without proper access to front counter services.
Yes – changes had to be made, but not like this.
In response, I have launched a petition, calling on the Mayor to retain a local base for the Safer Neighbourhood Team on, or near, Muswell Hill Broadway with an accessible front counter for the public to report crimes.
Hundreds have signed already, and residents can add their names here: http://bit.ly/MuswellHillPolice
Haringey Police are willing to keep the volunteer counter service – if a suitable location can be found. So please also contact me if you have any ideas for a suitable location.
The combination of Lib Dems and Haringey residents has been successful before. Just recently we saved the parcel collection point at Highgate Post Office and indefinitely delayed the closure of the Royal Mail collection point by Hornsey Station. We have fought off plans to build a waste plant at Pinkham Way and secured fairer funding for schools in our borough.
We also saved this very front counter once before. With enough support from residents, we can do the same again.
You can sign the petition here: http://bit.ly/MuswellHillPolice
Lynne Featherstone, MP for Hornsey & Wood Green
Tel: 020 8340 5459
She blogs at www.LynneFeatherstone.org and is on Twitter at twitter.com/LFeatherstone
Email: [email protected] or write to me at House of Commons, London SW1A