Boris: 'intimidating' police stations are becoming 'less central to our thinking' (From Harrow Times)
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Mayor of London Boris Johnson explains his vision for policing during visit to Harrow
The Mayor of London has defended plans to close police stations - saying he wants to “convert bricks and mortar into bobbies on the beat”.
During a visit to Harrow this afternoon, Boris Johnson set out his vision for the future of policing, which includes plans to shut Pinner Police Station and the police counter at the Civic Centre in Station Road.
However, he explained that he wants to “convert bricks and mortar into bobbies on the beat”.
He said that if his plan is implemented, Harrow will end up with more than 40 extra police officers.
The Mayor explained that he wants to see a policing model where all victims of crime receive a personal visit from a police officer and that, rather than having to visit a police station, they are able to report crimes from their homes.
He said: “Sometimes I think police front counters haven’t been well used. People don’t want to report a crime there.
“A lot of people find a police station intimidating. They are becoming less and less central to our thinking.
“We want police officers to come to you.”
Nonetheless, Mr Johnson also promised that there would always be one 24-hour police station in every borough.
He also suggested that he is considering the idea of creating ‘contact points’ where people will be able to find an officer.
He said: “We will keep a 24-hour police station in every borough. There will always be somewhere you can go.
“We are also looking to identity eight to ten contact points in every borough.”
With the retirement of Harrow's Borough Commander Chief Superintendent Dal Babu a surprise to many this week, the Mayor reassured people that he does not intend to have commanders covering more than one borough.
He said: “There has to be someone in each borough who is the Borough Commander. I don’t really mind what their rank is but there has to be someone who is in charge.”
Mr Johnson also pledged to continue investing in transport.
Notably, he claimed he is reconsidering improving the accessibility of any of Harrow’s stations - but said it would be unrealistic to expect any changes to be made this year.
He said: “We want to deliver a real disabled legacy after the Paralympics.
“We are reviewing all of the stations again. We have to see where we can get the maximum effect for travellers.
“We will do it if we possibly can. We are not defeated."
Mr Johnson also pledged to expand his Outer London Fund further to help struggling high streets.
He said: “This was about the most popular thing we did during our first term.
“It really has made a difference to people.
“I think it is vital as outer London is where the growth is really going to happen.
“I am very pleased that Harrow got some funding – it really does have outstanding potential.”
Finally, Mr Johnson commented that he hoped there would be a time when Boris Bikes could be found throughout the capital.
He said: “There will be a time when the blue tide will lap even as far as Harrow on the Hill.”