LABOUR councillors in Thurrock have reacted angrily to the attempt by a Conservative Councillor to claim that Corringham Police Station was to re-open.
Councillor James Halden – Conservative Councillor for the Homesteads – made the claims last week only to see them denied by Conservative Police and Crime Commissioner Nick Alston. Mr Alston was forced to issue a statement on Friday in which he admitted. “there will not be a public front counter run by police officers or police staff at the building.”
Cllr Richard Speight, Labour councillor for Stanford East and Corringham Town said:
“It takes a special kind of arrogance to even attempt to claim credit for reopening a police station that you yourself closed but the Corringham Conservatives go far beyond that.
“Their frankly scandalous press release about Corringham police station contained outright lies. The police station will not have a front desk open and will not be available for residents to report crimes. That ship sailed when the Tory-led government savaged Essex Police budget three years ago.
“At a time when residents in Corringham are increasingly concerned about the risk of burglary and of anti-social behaviour it is totally irresponsible to give people false hope and I am absolutely disgusted that Cllr Halden would stoop to such levels for a photo opportunity in the local papers. At the very least he should apologise to the residents of Corringham.
“I hope that Corringham police station is one day reopened; my Labour colleagues and I campaigned against its closure. If Conservative councillors like Cllr Halden had done the same rather than towing the government line we might all be better off”
Cllr Phillip Smith, Labour Councillor for Stanford East and Corringham Town also said:”I saw this story and, as a local resident, I thought fantastic, at long last something from a Tory that actually helps people, I was then informed that the story was pure fantasy and very probably released for political gain at the expense of the truth.
I feel aggrieved for fellow residents and those who made statements for the paper, who like me, have been conned by the conservatives. I feel that I must apologise for the immature actions of this Conservative councillor even though he is from a different party.
Cllr Angie Gaywood, portfolio holder for public protection said:
“I was surprised to learn of Conservative Councillor James Halden’s claim that he was instrumental in providing a front counter service to members of the public to make enquiries and report crime.
“Corringham Police station closed in 2011 as a result of the Coalition Government cuts to Essex Police’s budget and the need to streamline their service. We know there are a further £36m worth of cuts to come over the next three years.
I therefore sought confirmation Thursday (28th) from Thurrock’s District Commander, Chief Inspector Ben Hodder who advised me that there would be no change to that which is already in place – with police officers purely using the old building as a base whilst on patrol in the area.