The front desk at Uxbridge’s Police Station closed last week as part of police cutbacks across London by Mayor Sadiq Khan. It means Hillingdon residents will have to travel to the station in Hayes if they want to speak to a police officer to report a crime.
This was despite police statistics showing that an average of 2.9 crimes were reported at the front counter in Uxbridge on a daily basis, more than double the amount at Hayes.
As part of the cutbacks, the police station will close permanently in 2020.
But in an exclusive interview with Hillingdon is Here, Hillingdon Council Leader Ray Puddifoot offered renewed hope.
Hillingdon Council has lodged a £4.5m bid to save it from closure and urged Mayor of London Sadiq Khan to accept the offer for the “betterment of the service.”
Cllr Puddifoot said: “We were told that the site is valued at around £4.5m. So, we said we would buy it from the Mayor’s Office for Police and Crime (MOPAC) at that price. We would also pay £250,000 towards the running costs for the next five years.
“Now, we were told that the running costs at the moment are about £460,000. So, what we said is that as part of the deal of buying it, we would lease it back to MOPAC for five years at £45,000, which is 1% of the price. That would then put the running costs up to about half a million, so that’s where we got the £250,000 from, as we would then be paying half the amount towards the running costs.
“The Police can’t move out as they have the CID in there and they can’t move out till 2020. If we are giving them half a million pounds kicking off from the 1st of March, then we are ahead of the game."
The move has been greeted by support from Foreign Secretary and Uxbridge and South Ruislip MP Boris Johnson, who tweeted that “Uxbridge Police Station is an asset to the community and it should stay open.”
Cllr Puddifoot said: “Uxbridge is the centre of the borough and we need a Police presence. It is not only uniformed services, it is where the CID operate from, which need a presence. They need a permanent presence.
“So, if they close Uxbridge, effectively they have to find some other premises anyway, which they are going to have to rent or buy to put the CID in. If it’s about money, if somebody comes along and says we will give you the capital price, which is £4.5m, and give you half the running costs, then any business in the town would bight your hand off.”
It remains unclear when a decision will be reached over the offer, although Mr Puddifoot hopes the Mayor of London will side with the council.
He explained: “I’ve had a couple of chats with a senior police officer and we are going to arrange meetings with their estates people.
“To us, it’s such a good offer. It shouldn’t be turned down. If it is about the betterment of the service and the running of the service, the offer will be accepted. If it is about something else, then the bid won’t. We don’t believe anybody would turn down a deal like this.”
A Metropolitan Police statement read: “We can confirm that Uxbridge and Chiswick Police Station front counters closed on Thursday, 14 December. Hayes Police Station is now Hillingdon borough's 24/7 front counter.”