A row erupted between Merton Council election candidates about how to deal with Wimbledon police station’s closure at a hustings on Wednesday.
One attendee at the hustings, organised by the Federation of Small Businesses, asked how each party plans to deal with high street crime.
The station’s closure is one of many across the capital announced on November 1 to save costs.
Conservative candidate James Holmes said: “Closing Wimbledon police station would be an utter disaster for our community, we should do all we can to keep it open.
“The reason a vote for the Conservatives is so important next week is that we actually do have a policy and the policy is that we will take money from the council’s Capital Budget, buy the police station and seek to lease it back to the police.”
He added that though he admired Lib Dem candidate Paul Kohler’s passionate campaigning he did not think it could lead to the decision being reversed.
Labour leader of the council Stephen Alambritis said the blame for the police station’s closure lay with the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats for cutting the Metropolitan Police budget.
He said: “For a party to see it’s national party cut a service and then for the local branch to say let’s get the council taxpayer to pay for that, that sets a very dangerous precedent.
“We’ll get to the point where Merton becomes Northampton, which is completely bankrupt under the Tory administration.”
He added: “The only party that has a solution to what’s happening here is the local Labour party, which is arguing for a continued police presence, starting with the use of the Magistrates’ Court, which is fit for purpose.”
Mr Kohler said the parties expended too much energy fighting each other when should be working together.
Green candidate Kenneth Green said: “We’re one of the richest countries in the world, why can we not afford to have a police station in Wimbledon? It makes no sense.”
He added that fear of crime was at one of its highest levels in the borough since records began.
- 10000Two Merton political heavyweights have clashed over how to stop the proposed closure of Wimbledon Police Station following last week’s deadline for consultancy responses. Stephen Hammond, Conservative MP for Wimbledon, and Labour’s Merton Council leader Stephen Alambritis are both fighting to save the station, but with very different strategies. Wimbledon…
- 10000Andy Murray took some time out from training for Wimbledon glory to spend time with five pint-sized puppies training to become sniffer dogs for the Metropolitan Police Service. The gorgeous six-week-old cocker spaniel pups, who were on only their second outing in training, ran rings around the 2013 champion haring…
- 10000THE leader of Merton Council has called on Home Secretary Amber Rudd to rethink the Met Police budget after Wimbledon police station was threatened with closure. Stephen Alambritis, a Labour councillor who has held his position since 2010, believes Mayor of London Sadiq Khan is being pressured by ongoing austerity…
- 10000The Wimbledon Prowler who has committed around 200 burglaries in the last 10 years is back and the police have renewed their appeal to catch him. Known for his trademark fisherman hat, the prolific burglar had been on a hiatus following a 2014 Crimewatch appeal, but the Metropolitan Police have confirmed he…