Julia Lopez MP is campaigning to stop Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, selling Hornchurch Police Station, and is calling on residents to back a local petition opposing his plan. The campaign comes as Met Commissioner, Sir Mark Rowley, has announced a new review into the Met’s current estate strategy to make sure it fits his neighbourhood policing ambitions.
Mayor Khan revealed his intention to sell Hornchurch Police Station in 2017. Hornchurch & Upminster MP, Mrs Lopez, worked with local campaigners at the time to prevent the loss of this critical policing base, and with the support of hundreds of residents, secured for Havering Council an option to purchase the station from the Metropolitan Police and lease some of the site back to them, guaranteeing a police presence in the area.
Since then, progress on implementing this deal has stalled. In the meantime, an extra 350 police officers have been added to the area’s Borough Command Unit under the government’s police recruitment drive.
Given this increased local police recruitment, Mrs Lopez has repeatedly lobbied the Mayor to review his plans but in September, he confirmed that he still wants to sell despite new officers needing a base from which to boost neighbourhood policing.
Mrs Lopez believes that the Mayor must think again and has written to the new Metropolitan Police Commissioner to ask him to overturn the decision to sell Hornchurch Police Station as part of his Neighbourhood Policing Review. Sir Mark Rowley has since confirmed to Havering’s London Assembly Member, Cllr Keith Prince AM, that the sale of Hornchurch is on hold while he reviews neighbourhood policing operations.
The local MP and Assembly Member now believe that a clear show of public support will help make the case to keep Hornchurch Police Station in the Met’s hands, and the Hornchurch & Upminster Conservative Association have started a petition so that residents can make their voice heard. Residents can sign up to the campaign here:
Havering is one of London’s largest boroughs and needs a community base like Hornchurch to make sure that response times to crimes in every part of the borough are fast enough.
Mrs Lopez said: ‘Hornchurch Police Station is a vital community asset whose future has been unsecured and uncertain for too long. Without this base, officers serving wards within the south of my constituency will need to travel from either Romford Station or the Harold Hill Patrol Base before commencing their shifts, reducing their time in the communities they serve. The officers currently based in Hornchurch have been leading effective operations to tackle burglary and vehicle crime alongside other local priorities. It is vitally important that the Mayor now accepts that the original context in which this flawed decision was made has fundamentally changed and Hornchurch is essential to the delivery of strong neighbourhood policing, which is a priority of the new Commissioner. I am asking residents to help us make this argument by supporting our local petition.’
Cllr Keith Prince AM, London Assembly Member for Havering & Redbridge said, "We have seen a number of burglaries in Hornchurch & Emerson Park recently, and I am backing Julia's campaign".