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999 services "devastated" in Brent and Harrow

Mayor of London Boris Johnson was confronted yesterday by local Labour London Assembly Member Navin Shah about cuts to emergency services in Brent and Harrow. Emergency services are being “devastated” with the proposed closure of Pinner and Civic Centre (Counter) police stations in Harrow, Willesden Green and Harlesden police station in Brent and the Central Middlesex A&E Hospital in Brent which will be putting the safety of Londoners at risk.

The Mayor is accused of holding ‘sham consultations’ across London for his draft Police and Crime Plan. The Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime Stephen Greenhalgh has attended the consultations in Brent and Harrow but as yet the Mayor has not attended any of the consultation sessions.

Across London, 999 services are being threatened:

  • The London Fire Brigade’s budget has been cut by the Mayor and government by £45 million for the next two years. Boris Johnson wants to close 12 fire stations, lose 18 fire appliances and axe 520 firefighter posts
  • London Ambulance Service is currently being cut by £53 million (19%) of it’s budget by 2015/16, resulting in 890 job cuts, of which 560 will be frontline jobs
  • The Metropolitan Police have already lost 2,147 police officers and 1,682 PCSOs since May 2010. The Mayor has earmarked 65 police stations and front-counters for closure. The Met's own Chief Financial Operating Officer has labelled the Met's Budget for the coming year as 'very risky'
  • NHS London delivered efficiency savings of around £1 billion in 2011/12 and is committed to further savings of £600 million in 2012/13 and £500 million in 2013/14. Eight A&Es are due to be closed across London

 I challenged the Mayor regarding my concerns about the safety of Londoners following the fire cuts outlined in the London Safety Plan. The cutting of fire engines and axing firefighters will certainly put people at risk. We are seeing utter confusion about cuts to London’s policing and fire brigade from the Mayor's office.

I am concerned about cuts to the frontline services in Brent and Harrow. The government and the Mayor are cutting too far, too fast and these cuts will inevitably endanger families and communities across the capital.

The Mayor can’t give a straight answer about how much a closed police station will save or where residents will be able to report crime. Many residents have spoken to me and they just don’t believe Boris when he says that he can close 65 police stations, 12 fire stations, axe 520 firefighter posts and cut 18 fire engines and still maintain the same service we have now. He has direct responsibility for the fire and police services so has to take responsibility for the closure of fire and police stations and the loss of police officers on his watch. The cuts are going too far and too fast.

Permanent link to this article
31st January 2013

Emergency services in Brent and Harrow are being “devastated”

Emergency services are being “devastated” in Brent and Harrow with Londoners’ lives being put at risk. The proposed closures in Brent are Willesden Fire Station, Willesden Green Police Station and Central Middlesex Hospital. Harrow has lost 18.7% number of officers since 2010. Other emergency services affected in Harrow would in theory be Stanmore Fire Station. I supported a motion at last Wednesday’s London Assembly meeting calling on Boris “to reconsider and abandon his own draconian cuts to the emergency services” to keep Londoners safe.

Across London, blue-light services are being threatened:

  • The London Fire Brigade is facing steep cuts due to the government cutting the fire budget by 25% - £65million in total
  • London Ambulance Service will lose £53million (19%) of it’s budget by 2015/16, resulting in 890 job cuts, of which 560 will be frontline staff
  • The Metropolitan Police is being cut by 12% and has already lost 1,777 police officers and 1,800 PCSOs in the past two years
  • A&Es will be forced to cater for an extra 120,000 residents on average each. In 2010 there were 32 A&E departments in London, but only 24 would remain under these plans.

I am concerned about what’s happening to our frontline services. When we do complain about what’s happening to the NHS, our fire and police services, it’s because we care what happens to these frontline services, which have an impact on people’s lives.

We’re seeing the unacceptable and dangerous face of deep cuts. The Mayor has tried to duck and dive when questioned directly about cuts to the NHS but he has direct responsibility for the fire and police services so has to take responsibility for the closure of fire and police stations and the loss of police officers on his watch. The cuts are going too far and too fast and will inevitably endanger families and communities across the capital.

I am calling on the Mayor to consider the effects of these devastating cuts on Londoners’ safety. The closures of police front desks, fire stations and A & E departments will mean various pockets of London could see the safety of residents threatened by longer response times.

Ends

Notes

1. The 32 A&E’s served a population of 8.17million Londoners, an average of 255,000 people each. Reducing to 24 A&Es will mean they have to cover 340,000 each, with London’s population due to rise to 9million by 2020. This will increase the number of people each A&E is due to cover to 375,000 residents - an increase of 120,000 for each A&E. This assumes that no further closures take place.

2.    The motion passed on Wednesday 24 October read:

“This Assembly believes that the safety and security of Londoners is being put at risk as a result of cuts to emergency services being pushed through by the Mayor and the Coalition Government to the key emergency services – the Metropolitan Police Service, the London Fire Brigade alongside the London Ambulance Service and the city’s Accident & Emergency Departments.

The Assembly believes that the cuts are going too far and too fast and that the many millions of pounds being taken from the budgets of the NHS, the Metropolitan Police Service and the London Fire Brigade will inevitably endanger families and communities across the capital.

This Assembly believes that the cuts, from these various budget streams, are being carried out without strategic consideration of their aggregate effects on Londoners’ safety or the geography of blue light coverage. The closures of police front desks, fire stations and A & E departments will mean various pockets of London could see the safety of residents threatened by longer response times.

This Assembly recognises the strategic, metropolitan perspective of the Mayor of London and Greater London Authority and challenges his acceptance of these cuts as an economic necessity, with little information or regard for the safety consequences. This Assembly calls on the Mayor to commission strategic research into the formation of blue light black holes, to stand up for Londoners against the cuts being imposed by the Coalition Government and to reconsider and abandon his own draconian cuts to the emergency services on which we rely to keep Londoners safe.”

The webcast for the London Assembly meeting where the motion was passed on Wednesday 24 October 2012 can be watched here: http://www.london.gov.uk/who-runs-london/the-london-assembly/webcasts

Permanent link to this article
30th October 2012