Residents' backlash at plans to close Notting Hill police station

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Residents are fighting plans that could see Notting Hill police station closed and officers using local shops or council offices as a base.

The station is one of a number earmarked for closure across London as Scotland Yard bids to streamline the force and save cash.

At a meeting held about the proposals yesterday, residents expressed concerns that the consultation has been launched in the wake of the Grenfell Tower tragedy, and days before the Notting Hill Carnival, one of the capital’s biggest policing operations.

Resident Marion Gettleson told the Standard: “In light of Grenfell, things are different. How would they have been able to respond if there was no station.”

Another resident said: “In the north of the borough there is a feeling of mistrust, especially from the poorer communities, in relation to authorities. 

“Removing the police station here and putting a distance will put in place a further separation.”

A third said: ““We have the outfall from Grenfell, we have got knife crime. There is a need for this police station to be here.”

Borough Commander Chief Superintendent Ellie O’Connor, who does not support the closure, said: “I do not think you could be prepared for Grenfell to be honest. I know what my staff did that night. I saw what they did. 

“That is why I have brought in six extra officers, because it is not just about the residents [of Grenfell], the whole community needs that support and people to talk to.”

She told residents to “speak from the heart” in their response to the consultation.

“It is our borough, we work together and we want to get this right. We have the chance to make a difference,” she said.

“If ever there is a time when we should be supporting this borough it is now. We, as a borough, have gone through the most extraordinary eight weeks.” 

Referring to the Grenfell tragedy, she added: “I was there, I have been in the building, I have been dealing with the families, I have been trying to keep my staff together and the community. 

“And the one thing that nobody, perhaps, elsewhere is doing is listening to the people. This is a real chance for this community to truly tell the Mayor your opinion.

“I genuinely want to keep a policing presence with a police building, whether it is Notting Hill or somewhere else quite frankly I don’t care, but I want to keep a policing building in the north of the borough because I think it is critical and that is exactly what I have written to my senior manager.”

The draft plan outlines proposals to “close costly and underused police front counters in London and provide better ways to contact the Met online”. 

This would mean providing more public access Met Police services via smartphones, tablets and computers.

And would result in the older police stations being sold off, with 24-hour “counters” then moved to other areas of the borough which are yet to be specified.

The consultation is open until October 6. An official date for possible closure of the police station has not been set.

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