Wimbledon Police Station - open letter to Labour & the Conservatives

An open letter from Paul Kohler to Merton's Labour and Conservative Parties, suggesting a joint initiative to save Wimbledon Police Station. You can still sign our petition at www.SaveWimbledonPoliceStation.org.uk

20 October 2017

Dear Mr Hammond and Cllr Alambritis,

I was pleased to see the intervention in the pages of the Wimbledon Guardian, of both the local Conservative (28 September) and Labour parties (19 October), in the campaign to save Wimbledon Police Station.

I am consequently writing an open letter to you both, on behalf of Merton Lib Dems, as the most senior representatives of each of your parties in our community, to suggest that our three parties work together on this issue.

Despite our political differences, it is self evident that the Liberal Democrats, Conservatives and Labour are united in our desire to retain Wimbledon Police station. I am therefore proposing that, in this particular instance, we put our, substantial and important, disagreements on other issues to one side for the good of our community.

It is clear, from talking to supporters of both your parties, that they would welcome an approach that transcends party politics, by us working together on behalf of our borough and the constituency. It is also apparent that the proposal to close Wimbledon Police Station results, to some degree, from both the Government’s decision to cut the Metropolitan Police budget and the Mayor’s response to the funding shortfall. Whilst it is easy to simply condemn the Government and/or Mayoralty in this way, the approach of neither is yet set in stone. The police station has not yet closed and thus an
opportunity still exists for more investment to be found by the Chancellor in the upcoming budget and for Sadiq Khan to explore alternatives to wholesale closure.

At the moment, Mr Hammond, your members are concentrating their fire on the Labour Mayor, whilst your party, Cllr Alambritis, is doing likewise regarding the Conservative Home Secretary. Ironically, of course, you would each be more effective if, rather than attacking your political opponents, you spoke directly to those within your own party who are, at least partly, responsible for the proposed closure.

Mr Hammond, as Wimbledon's MP, could you not lead a delegation of all three parties to a meeting with the Conservative  Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, to persuade her to reverse the cuts in police funding, with you, Cllr Alambritis, as leader of our Council, taking that same delegation to City Hall to propose that the Labour Mayor, Sadiq Khan, adopt a different response to the funding shortfall? With all three parties working together in this way, we would create a powerful statement that would be in the best interests of the people of Merton.

It is all too easy to continue scoring petty party points off one another but please let us work together to retain our police station. Surely our community deserves something more from its local representatives than counter-productive bickering; particularly as we will have a far greater chance of success if we work together in this endeavour.

I consequently urge you, both, to join with us in this approach and additionally agree a joint letter, to be sent to both the Home Secretary and the Mayor of London, from all three of our parties, in which we set out why Wimbledon Police Station should be saved.

Yours ever

Paul Kohler
Kings Road,
SW19 8PL

On behalf of Merton Liberal Democrats

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