Hampstead Police station. The grade-II listed building is set to close next week
Published: 20 June, 2013
by ALICE HUTTON
HAMPSTEAD Police station will officially close next week after a temporary reprieve to keep its front counter open was withdrawn at the last minute.
As of Monday, the Rosslyn Hill building will cease to operate as a police station for the first time in a century.
Borough commander Ben Julian Harrington’s change of heart went against an offer he made last month at a Camden Community and Police Consultative Group (CCPCG) meeting where he told residents he would keep the grade-II listed station’s front counter open until a new contact point had been found.
Whilst the New Journal understands that talks are ongoing with the nearby Royal Free Hospital in Hampstead about setting up a place to meet the public, as yet a new location has not been confirmed.
William Welbank, of the Hampstead Safer Neighbourhood Panel, told the New Journal that he was “disappointed” and “shocked” and called on the borough commander to reconsider.
“I believe it is a contradiction to the commitment that has been given to us,” he said.
“We understood there was a commitment to have a contact point and it would be in our station until it would be found. It is a shock.”
Superintendent Gary Buttercase apologised to the community but told the New Journal that the decision had been made to withdraw the offer in order to make a “clear decision”, rather than “piecemeal”.
“Hampstead police station will close on June 24, there will be no front counter,” he said.
“It will be boarded up and closed. We have been looking for a contact point within Hampstead for some time, we are still looking.
“Unfortunately, the estate value in Hampstead and trying to find somewhere cost effective has made this difficult.
"It was always on the disposal list and the decision was made that everything would be done at the same time, rather than piecemeal. We need to make a clear decision.”
The news comes as part of the Met’s official new local policing model which rolls out on Monday across London for the first time.
Last night (Wednesday) Commander Harrington said he was “excited” about the changes and called them “the most fundamental change to policing in my time”.
“It is a real acknowledgement of the benefits of neighbourhood policing. There is now real investment in that contact with the public and more police in uniform on the street.
"Change is always difficult but this is a much better and firmer offer of policing than we offered the public before.”
Under the much-discussed changes, the front counter at Regent Park’s Albany Street station will also officially close, although some officers will continue to be based there temporarily, and Kentish Town, in Holmes Road, will become the new 24/7 station, replacing Holborn which will be open to standard hours.
An extra 100 neighbourhood officers will be walking the streets as Camden’s 18 wards are divided into three neighbourhood policing areas: north, central and south.
Residents will now be able to report crimes at Safer Neighbourhoods Team bases, including those in Camden Town, Swiss Cottage, West Hampstead and Highgate, on Wednesday and Thursdays at 7-8pm and on Saturdays at 2-3pm.