The old police staition next to the former courthouse on Kings Cross Road in Clerkenwell is now a base for Met Police traffic wardens, while the old courthouse next door is an upmarket youth hostel. And the Highbury Vale police station in Blackstock Road, Finsbury Park is used as a base for neighbourhood safety teams, although no longer open to the public.
In Islington today there are just two local police stations, both currently open to the public 24 hours a day: Islington police station on Tolpuddle Street near the Angel, and Holloway police station on the edge of the Andover estate near Finsbury Park. Plus Shoreditch police station just off City Road in Hackney is the nearest police station for many Islington & Finsbury residents.
The Metropolitan Police Authority (MPA) has been trying for years to close some of London’s older police stations, in order to consolidate services in larger, more modern bases. Blackstock Road, Holloway and Shoreditch are all on their hitlist, despite the latter two being in modern buildings.
Two years ago, the Met tried to restrict Holloway opening to daytime only. Islington’s Lib Dem councillors saw off that proposal; as Cllr Marisha Ray pointed out at the time, crime can happen 24 hours a day, and it’s not always easy to get through on the phone.
Then in November last year the MPA published another review of local police stations. The consultation ran through til March but was very low profile.Despite Meral Ece raising the issue, we didn’t hear a peep on the subject from local Labour GLA member Jenette Arnold, who has sat on the Metropolitan Police Authority throughout.
Now it looks as if Holloway and Shoreditch stations may survive a bit longer, thanks to the Lib Dems on the London Assembly.
Last week, Lib Dem GLA member Dee Doocey, who leads for the Liberal Democrats on policing in London, criticised the consultation as deeply flawed, and its findings as meaningless. The MPA agreed and so their ‘estate strategy’ has been put on hold – for now.