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  • CarolineShah

Is our safety at risk in Kingston? The Met Police are concerned

Updated: Jul 18, 2021

Red alert for Kingston

Geographically, two-thirds of Kingston is already seriously short of police presence

11 out of 16 wards in The Royal Borough of Kingston-upon-Thames are already in urgent need (red or amber) of a Metropolitan Police Service District Ward Office

This is bad enough. But what will happen to the safety of our communities if, as our council is planning, our population doubles in just 22 years and massive commercial and office developments appear all over the Borough?

The Metropolitan Police Service (the “MPS”) is worried

You can read the MPS’s reply to the Council’s Early Engagement to the Local Plan here

Below are some key excerpts:

"The MPS have identified the need for District Ward Office (DWO) accommodation as part of their Estates Strategy. A DWO is a small room containing lockers and operational equipment and forms a 24/7 base of operation for the MPS. It is not public facing, but rather a location typically used by officers at the beginning and the end of their shifts. The MPS currently police over 600 wards across Greater London, DWOs are integral to these efforts
With regards to DWOs, we request the Council to include an acknowledgement in the emerging Local Plan detailing that in schemes referable to the Mayor the MPS will liaise with developers to arrange potential on site delivery of a DWO.
Appendix A shows a map which illustrates the requirement for DWOs in the London Borough of Kingston
The red and amber colours relate to wards which have the greatest need for DWOs coverage
Through this map, the MPS have identified several locations in need of DWO coverage.
The red wards in Kingston are as follows:
Coombe Hill Ward, Coombe Vale Ward, Beverley Ward, St James Ward, Old Malden Ward, Chessington North, Hook Ward and Chessington South
The amber wards in Kingston are as follows:
Alexandra Ward, Tolworth and Hook Rise Ward and Tudor Ward
The growth in homes, offices and other uses will significantly increase the need for policing and the cost for associated infrastructure
It is widely accepted and documented that policing infrastructure represents a legitimate item for inclusion within the CIL and S106
For example, in the case of The Queen (on the application of The Police and Crime Commissioner for Leicestershire) v Blaby District Council [2014] EWHC 1719 (Admin), Judge Foskett stated:
61… “I do not, with respect, agree that the challenge mounted by the Claimant in this case can be characterised as a quibble about a minor factor. Those who, in due course, purchase properties on this development, who bring up children there and who wish to go about their daily life in a safe environment, will want to know that the police service can operate efficiently and effectively in the area. That would plainly be the “consumer view” of the issue. The providers of the service (namely, the Claimant) have statutory responsibilities to carry out and, as the witness statement of the Chief Constable makes clear, that in itself can be a difficult objective to achieve in these financially difficult times. Although the sums at stake for the police contributions will be small in comparison to the huge sums that will be required to complete the development, the sums are large from the point of view of the police
62. I am inclined to the view that if a survey of local opinion was taken, concerns would be expressed if it were thought that the developers were not going to provide the police with a sufficient contribution to its funding requirements to meet the demands of policing the new area.”
The above conclusions echo those reached in an earlier appeal case of Land off Melton Road, Barrow-upon-Soar (APP/X2410/A/12/2173673), in which the Secretary of State endorsed the following findings of the Inspector:
291… “the twelfth core planning principle of the Framework… can only be served if policing is adequate to the additional burdens imposed on it in the same way as any other local public service. The logic of this is inescapable. Section 8 of the Framework concerns the promotion of healthy communities and planning decisions, according to paragraph 69, should aim to achieve places which promote, inter alia, “safe and accessible environments where crime and disorder and the fear of crime do not undermine quality of life or community cohesion.
292. Adequate policing is so fundamental to the concept of sustainable communities that I can see no reason, in principle, why it should be excluded from the purview of S106 financial contributions, subject to the relevant tests applicable to other public services. There is no reason, it seems to me, why police equipment and other items of capital expenditure necessitated by additional development should not be so funded alongside, for example, additional classrooms and stock and equipment for libraries.” (emphasis added)”
MPS is working hard to achieve cost savings and find new and alternative sources of capital and revenue funding to support policing in London. S106 charges to support policing at Borough level is necessary and appropriate
We consider that until such time as s106 is collected for police infrastructure, funding should be collected through Section 106 contributions from individual developments to ensure that the necessary funding is accounted for in the meantime"
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