An East London police station is to be closed as violent crime rises in the area.
The Isle of Dogs Police Station will be sold by Mayor of London Sadiq Khan ‘s policing office.
But a local councillor has expressed concerns about the impact on the local area amid rapid population growth, rising crime and the difficulties this could cause for police officers.
Conservative Independent councillor for Canary Wharf ward Andrew Wood said the station should remain open to help tackle rising knife crime in the area and that, if not, a local alternative should be provided.
A petition set up by Cllr Wood to halt the sale until an alternative can be found has been signed by 409 Tower Hamlets residents since it was set up on September 22.
Tower Hamlets is one of the most densely populated areas in the UK, and is experiencing some of the fastest development and population growth in the country, according to figures by the Office for National Statistics.
According to data analysis project CrimeRate, Tower Hamlets is one of the most dangerous areas in London, with violence and sexual offences the most common crimes in the borough.
Incidents of violent crime have risen gradually in Tower Hamlets over the past year, with July this year seeing more violent crimes than any month for the past year, according to the UKCrimeStats database.
There were 953 violent crimes in the area in July – 178 more than there were in July 2020.
Cllr Wood told the Local Democracy Reporting Service that if the Isle of Dogs station closes, police officers will have much further to travel to the area from the next-nearest station in Bethnal Green.
He said in an opinion piece for the East London Advertiser that the closure, along with the fast population growth in the area, would present a huge challenge to officers.
He said: “Knife crime and stabbings have become increasingly common in Tower Hamlets, including on the Isle of Dogs where we now have a serious incident almost every month, including two men killed in the last year.
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“But despite this the Mayor of London has decided to sell the Manchester Road Police Station on the Isle of Dogs which provides a base for the Safer Neighbourhood teams (& the Police Cadets) covering the south-east of the Borough (who will now have to commute to and from Bethnal Green Police Station each day)
“Given the massive population growth underway in the E14 postcode area encouraged by the planning policies of the Mayors of London and of Tower Hamlets, this makes no sense.”
Mayor of Tower Hamlets John Biggs said: ‘’Community safety is a big concern for our residents and they are keen to see a visible local police presence in their neighbourhood.
“Due to Tory government austerity we’ve seen police numbers fall and police stations close and while as a council we fund additional police officers – we can’t replace every officer lost due to government cuts.
“I’m keen the Isle of Dogs continues to have a local police presence and we will work with the police and Mayor of London to see if what alternative options are available.’’
The Mayor of London’s office was contacted for comment,