What matters in terms of the fight against crime is police on the beat, not barely-used police buildings, says Croydon's cabinet member for safety and public protection, Cllr Simon Hoar.
Poor old Steve Reed MP (the newly-elected Labour MP for Croydon North) has had a bit of a rough few weeks
Roundly criticised by the Croydon Advertiser for being alarmist over the proposed changes to health provision in south east London, it now seems he doesn't even know which police stations are in his own constituency!
Writing in the slavishly pro-Labour 'Inside Croydon' , he repeats his arguments so disdained by the Advertiser and goes on to say that 'In Croydon North, the constituency I represent, the Mayor of London is closing down every single police station'.
Err, no he isn't! Let's look at the facts here.
In April I wrote an article about the big policing debate in Croydon (cops versus buildings) and the need to protect front line police services in the borough rather than keeping outdated and seriously underused police buildings.
At the time I highlighted how police stations such as Kenley and Addington had so few visitors each day (two and eight respectively) that it was a complete waste of resources having police officers sitting there doing little to help protect the borough and that it was far better to put the Police’s resources into police officers out on our streets. The good news then was that the borough's police establishment was increasing from 623 (where it had bumped along for a number of years) to 740, the majority of which would be going into safer neighbourhood teams.
What the police are doing instead of these mostly-redundant police stations is having access points in places people actually go – such as supermarkets and other public buildings. They are keeping the central Croydon police station and the new Windmill Road Custody Suite, which will have fully manned front desk. And where is this Windmill Road Custody Suite? You've guessed it, in Croydon North!
So either Mr Reed is guilty of misleading his public or he doesn't know much about his constituency.
Reed has big shoes to step in to, replacing the late Malcolm Wicks as MP for Croydon North. Malcolm commanded the respect of politicians from all sides, with his clear determination to speak up for his electorate. But this was allied to a pragmatism in his relations with other parties during the periods of his career he spent in opposition. Malcolm knew better than to oppose just for oppositions' sake, and rarely went chasing a sound-bite. He opposed things he felt in his heart were wrong and worked collaboratively with other parties on things they could agree upon. Sadly, these are things Steve Reed has yet to learn.
Read what the Advertiser said about Reed misleading the public on policing here.
Read Advertiser story 'MP accused of 'inciting panic' in hospital cuts campaign' here.
Read the Advertiser editorial criticising his stance here.