Hampstead police contact point

MQT on 2013-12-18
Session date: 
December 18, 2013
Question By: 
Andrew Dismore
Labour Group
Asked Of: 
The Mayor


How much would it cost to retain a police contact point at the Old Hampstead Town Hall?


Answer for Hampstead police contact point

Answer for Hampstead police contact point

Answered By: 
The Mayor

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  Andrew Dismore, the answer is that the cost of this is £30 and I am sure that is readily fundable.  If the old Hampstead Town Hall contact point is the one that is decided upon, then as far as I am concerned that is terrific.  Will that do?  Is that the answer you want?


Andrew Dismore (AM):  I am pleased to hear it, Mr Mayor, because the Hampstead and Highgate Express (Ham and High) originally was told that the police would not fund this contact point because it had to be a no-cost option.  Indeed, you probably saw the photo of the Ham and High giving the first £30 to the police for the first month and agreeing to underwrite it.  Obviously there has been a change of policy after you were door-stepped when you were out campaigning in Hampstead.


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  No, I can tell you ‑‑


Andrew Dismore (AM):  The important point here though, of course, is that you agreed that no police station would close until there was an alternative in place and there is not an alternative in place.  What is more, in relation to Hampstead Police Station, it might have been sensible to tell Royal Mail you were closing it because there is this pile of post on the doorstep last week which has simply been left there because nobody bothered to tell Royal Mail.  It might have also been a good idea to change the sign on Hampstead Police Station, which still says it is open.  It has Holborn Police Station as open 24 hours which it is not and Albany Police Station as being open which it is not.  It might have been sensible if you are serious about engaging the public to tell the public that you have closed these police stations, not kept them open as it says on the police station.  The fact is that this contact point system is a complete fiasco as far as Hampstead is concerned.  What they want is a proper police base for their police officers to patrol out of and a proper contact point in a place that is not Starbucks or the Royal Free Hospital, a place where people want to go and where you - until you were door-stepped - would not pay the £30.


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  I am afraid you are talking - not for the first time in your presence here - complete nonsense.  At no stage was the Metropolitan Police Service told they could not spend £30 a week on a contact point.  That is absolute nonsense.  If the Town Hall is to become the contact point, as far as I am concerned, it is absolutely terrific.  I hope that is something that will provide reassurance to you and to the readers of the Ham and High. 


Andrew Dismore (AM):  I am very pleased to hear that, but I am afraid it was not nonsense because the borough commander told me that he was not allowed to spend £30 because he had been told by Deputy Assistant Commissioner Helen Ball in charge of the initial rollout that it has to be in a police premises and it had to be a no-cost option.  It was only after you got door-stepped in Hampstead during your electioneering that in the end some directive must have been issued to change the rule and the borough commander was allowed after all to fund £30 out of his coffers.  The fact remains that these are not properly funded, are they?


Darren Johnson (Chair):  A quick answer to that because the Labour group is now running out of time.


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  It sounds to me like good value.  It is classic good value by this administration that we are able to fund a contact point for a mere £30.  I hope that is good news to you and everybody reading the Ham and High.  It shows what a beady eye we keep on the costs in London and, as I said, you have crime coming down across the city.  The proof of the pudding is in the eating and that applies to Hampstead as well.


Andrew Boff (AM):  Mr Mayor, I would like you to congratulate Andrew Dismore actually for climbing onto the bandwagon so late, but we are pleased he is here supporting this campaign that was started a long time ago by Councillor Simon Marcus in Hampstead who has done more than any other person to ensure that there is a police base in the old Hampstead Town Hall. 


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  I do congratulate Simon Marcus.  I know well of the many good things he has done and in a typical Dismore fashion you pretend that he has had some hand in some benign transformation that has been effected by hardworking Conservative councillors.  I know that the people of Hampstead will take that into account when they come to adjudication. 


Andrew Dismore (AM):  Point of personal explanation? 


Darren Johnson (Chair):  We will conclude as exchanging the point of personal explanation from Assembly Member Dismore.


Andrew Dismore (AM):  Thank you very much.  As the records of this Assembly will show, I have raised the question of Hampstead Police Station on a number of occasions with questions with the Mayor, both written and orally.  Also, from the very first so-called ‘consultation meeting’ which was held in Camden, I raised the issues of the contact points then.  I am not a newcomer to this, unlike Simon Marcus. 


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  By your own admission, you have been seemingly unsuccessful in drawing it to the attention of the people of Hampstead. 


Darren Johnson (Chair):  Thank you very much.  The rest of the questions will go for written answer.