JUST ONE public police station will remain open in the borough after it was announced the Met Police are to sell six of their Kingston properties.
The New Malden police counter, currently run by volunteers, will close next month and the building in Malden Road sold. Three safer neighbourhood bases will also be scrapped.
The closures are part of a capital-wide programme, announced by the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, which aims to raise £165 million to help offset government budget cuts.
A further £8 million will be saved by putting more focus on telephone services, which account for roughly 70 per cent of crime reporting in London, and a new online service.
Explaining the closures, Mr Khan said: “Keeping Londoners safe is my number-one priority, and supporting officers out on the beat in our communities is more important than keeping open buildings that are simply not used by the vast majority of the public.
“Nevertheless, I understand and share some of the very legitimate concerns of Londoners about these closures.”
The news comes just a day after Ed Davey demanded extra government funding for the police due cuts in officer numbers and an increase in crime in the capital.
In Parliament, the MP for Kingston and Surbiton said: “We’re at crisis point here in London on crime and policing.
“I am particularly concerned about officer numbers in Kingston which have dropped from 332 in November 2015 down to 280 in July (2017), while crime has increased from 9,608 offences per year to 10,576.
“The Chancellor must increase Met funding now, before rising crime spirals out of control.”
However, the cited rise in crime has been disputed by the Leader of Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames, Cllr Kevin Davis, who highlighted Metropolitan Police Service statistics that show there were 10,599 notifiable offences in Kingston – the lowest of all 32 London boroughs.
The closure of the New Malden front counter station is expected to save over £135k a year. Kingston police station will be the only 24-hour front counter in the borough.
The safer neighbourhood bases on Ewell Road, Cowleaze Road, and Hook Road will all be sold, as will the information kiosk in Kingston town centre.