Sep 12 2012 by Hannah Bewley, Harrow Observer
CAMPAIGNERS have won a battle to keep Harrow police station’s cells open.
Harrow West MP Gareth Thomas started the Save Our Cells campaign due to the proposed closure of the custody suites at Harrow police station.
After raising the issue in the House of Commons, Mr Thomas petitioned the Met Police Commissioner, Bernard Hogan-Howe, and worked with Harrow Council to raise concerns about the planned closure, which he argued would force officers from the area to travel to custody suites in Brent, Barnet or Hillingdon, taking up valuable police time.
Borough Commander Dal Babu announced last week that the cells would not be closing following an internal review.
The Labour MP said: “It is the right decision for a number of reasons.
“The residents in Harrow would have been stripped of their police officers, who would have been spending their time running a taxi service for criminals.
“I am relieved that this decision has been made in favour of keeping the custody suites and would like to take this opportunity to thank all the residents who signed petitions and joined in with demonstrations.”
Police revealed the proposals to close the borough’s 11 cells and two detention rooms in April in a private email to MPs and councillors from the Commander for North West London, Christine Jones, which she said was part of the force’s ‘modernisation and improvement programme’.
However, the plans were put forward without any consultation, which prompted concerned citizens to sign Mr Thomas’ petition to keep the cells open.
Chf Supt Int Dal Babu said: “After an internal review, it has been decided that Harrow’s custody suite will remain open. This is excellent news for the residents and businesses of Harrow.”