Two local Bromley Councillors are calling on the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan to re-open police bases in West Wickham and Penge to replace the ones he chose to shut in 2018.
West Wickham Councillor Hannah Gray and Hayes and Coney Hall Councillor Thomas Turrell have launched a petition calling on the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, to open new bases in West Wickham and Penge to replace the closed bases. The Councillors, as well as local business owners and residents, are concerned that the loss of police bases in these towns has reduced police presence and made it harder for Safer Neighbourhood teams to patrol the areas they serve.
Since the closure and subsequent sell-off of the buildings, many of the local Safer Neighbourhood Teams across Bromley have been based out of either Bromley Police Station or Beckenham Police Base on Albemarle Road and without transport. Officers have been left waiting for the bus to get to their local beats.
Hayes and Coney Hall Councillor Thomas Turrell said:
“Our local police are stuck waiting for the bus instead of being able to patrol the streets because Sadiq Khan closed their base in West Wickham.
“Our local officers are incredibly hard-working and try to be as visible as possible, but they need a local base or, at the very least, their own vehicle.
“The current situation just is not good enough – places like Keston Village in my ward are only served by two buses, one bus on a Sunday, so asking the police to patrol places like Keston via public transport just isn’t feasible.
“That’s why we are calling on the Mayor to invest in neighbourhood policing and re-open police bases in these towns.”
In 2022, the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, Sir Mark Rowley, highlighted this in his New Met for London report, which outlines his strategy for restoring confidence in the police. In this strategy, the Commissioner commits to having no team based more than 20 minutes outside of the community they serve. The Councillors are therefore calling for police bases to be re-opened in West Wickham and Penge to achieve this and have launched a petition that residents can sign to show their support.
Vanessa Bowden, who runs Taylor & Abel Haberdashers on Maple Road said:
“My son won an award from the police for his bravery in tackling a thug on a motorbike trying to terrorise our jubilee street party in 2022.
“He broke his leg in doing so. We need a much stronger police presence in the area –a visible and permanent presence for the police here in Penge.
“I was sad when we lost the base here on Maple Road. We certainly see less of our police than when it was open here. Local people need to sign the petition as a show of the demand in this community that we want our police base back!”.
The Conservative Government has delivered its manifesto commitment to recruit 20,000 new police officers nationally, 3,666 serve across London. However, the Mayor of London faced criticism when it emerged that the Metropolitical Police had not recruited as many new officers as it could have, meaning the figure could have been higher.
West Wickham Councillor, Hannah Gray, commented:
“It is not unreasonable that our neighbourhood police should be based in the neighbourhoods they serve, but sadly, neighbourhood policing has been decimated by the Mayor of London, who is only interested in headline chasing.
“Crime across London is going up, people need to know that their concerns are being taken seriously, which is why we urgently need new police bases opened in West Wickham and Penge so that we can get our officers on the beat, we have them based in the community and they can reassure residents and catch criminals. Sign our petition to demand action.”
Resident Nina Petrova added:
"I lived in Penge for years and I know that the local community would greatly benefit from a police base. I used to work for the police, in a Town Centre Team, and would love to see Penge having something similar in place. This would provide visible police presence and direct contact for the local residents with offers they would get to see on a daily basis. Having a police base would mean having a dedicated team of police officers who will constantly work to keep Penge safe."