Camden New Journal - by PAUL KEILTHY Published: 28 February 2008
Cllr Chris Philp came out in support of the crowds protesting the possible sale of Rosslyn Hill station
Police station protest is more than a facade
HUNDREDS of protesters filled Hampstead’s streets on Saturday rallying under the simple slogan: “Save our Police Station.”
In the last weekend of a three-month Metropolitan Police consultation that has apparently heightened rather than alleviated concerns that the Rosslyn Hill station will be sold, campaigners spent lunchtime picketing the listed Victorian facade under the glare of TV lights.
South End Green Association chairwoman Pam Gilby organised the protest alongside Gospel Oak councillor Chris Philp. Mrs Gilby said: “This was an attempt to show the strength of feeling among the general public about this.
“There is a sense in which the actual building is peripheral to the main debate, which is about the level of policing on the streets in our area. The loss of a police station means a loss of police on foot around the station, and that is what we feel is important.”
Hampstead Safer Neighbourhoods Team panel chair Nigel Steward said: “That is the biggest turn-out I have seen for any event for some time – a pure protest to flag up how much people care. It may not be the last.”
More than 1,000 Camden residents have responded to the consultation over plans put forward by the Metropolitan Police Authority (MPA), which is seeking to modernise its property portfolio.
Of Camden’s current five police stations, the future of Hampstead and Kentish Town are “under review”, with the plan likely to include a brand new “warehouse-style” station replacing existing custody cells and probably becoming the base for patrols.
Although the review of Hampstead has grabbed headlines, residents have also expressed concern over Kentish Town – as have police forced to work in its cramped and out-dated environment.
At a meeting at Ort House, Camden Town, on Thursday, Camden borough commander Chief Supt Dominic Clout said: “Kentish Town hasn’t changed in the 30 years that I have been in the service.
“Quite frankly I’m asking my colleagues (on the MPA) to give my officers the resources to do their work properly.”