Twickenham Police Station closed at 2pm today for refurbishment.
The work will take between six to nine months to be completed and all the facilities available at the station’s front counter will be available at Teddington police station.
News of the temporary closure of the police station has divided the public’s opinion.
Sylvia Chan, 55, who has lived in Twickenham for eight years, said: “Six to nine months is quite a long time, I am not sure where the nearest police station would be if there was a problem.
Ms Chan, a PA, explained having the police station so close to home has always been very convenient.
She said: “I like to think that the refurbishment will be good for the station and the community, I hope so. I guess it hasn’t been refurbished in many years, so I think it will be good to have a refurbished environment, especially for the policemen who had been working there for years.”
Selim Sonuvar, a 49-year-old barber from Twickenham, also agrees that the station will benefit from the refurbishment and that having the police around is very important.
Mr Sonuvar said: “I think they need the refurbishment, they need to do it. It is obviously an old station. If needed people will go to Teddington. If you have to go, you have to go.
“Twickenham is a rugby town, they have to be around here during the rugby games specially.”
Although some local residents are supportive of the station’s temporal closure, others do not agree.
For Tom Williams, a writer from Richmond, this is concerning as Twickenham became the nearest police station in the area after Richmond’s was closed.
Mr Williams said: “Every time someone is arrested in Twickenham a policeman is off the street for the time it takes him to escort his prisoner to Teddington.
“The closure of local police stations impacts policing of low-level crime because it often makes no sense to take time out to escort a criminal to a station any distance away if the offence is minor and you will be off-post while you could be dealing with more serious matters.”
Chief Superintendent Sally Benatar, commander of the South West Basic Command Unit, said: “The refurbishment of the Twickenham Station is a necessary process.
“The building in it current from doesn’t provide our staff with the facilities or equipment to provide the best possible service to our communities.”
“While I’m aware the temporary closure of the front counter at Twickenham may be a concern for some residents I would like to stress that this is temporary – this police station and its 24-hour front counter will re-open as soon as refurbishments have been completed.
Chief Superintendent Benatar said the force’s top priority is ensuring members of the public can access the help they need.
Help can be accessed online via www.met.police.uk, on the phone via 101 or 999 in the case of an emergency.