Police offered a base in the old police station in Chiswick

Image above: Proposed new building Chiswick High Rd elevation looking east; Hunters architects

Police may be based inside new Birchgrove assisted living flats, if planning permission is granted

Birchgrove, the developer which bought the Chiswick Police Station site, has agreed to provide space for the police to use in the retirement flats they are planning to build there.

Since Chiswick Police Station was sold off, our local police have been based in Acton and have to catch the bus to Chiswick before they can even start their day’s work.

Chiswick councillor Ranjit Gill told The Chiswick Calendar he was talking to the Police Superintendent Anil Puri at the public meeting on policing he arranged last year. As a result of their conversation, he put them in touch with Honor Barratt, Chief Executive of Birchgrove.

“I knew from previous discussions that they were willing to provide accommodation for the police.”

The development, which has been the subject of a widespread consultation in Chiswick, comes before Hounslow’s Planning Committee for a decision, on Monday 5 February.

READ ALSO: Developers publish revised plans for Chiswick Police station site

Image above: Chiswick Police Station, as it was before the building was sold

What local police officers really need is a place in Chiswick where they can store their stuff

Honor has now had three meetings with Anil and Jim Cope, the sergeant responsible for the team which provides neighbourhood policing in Chiswick. While they have had plenty of offers from businesses for them to come and sit down and have a cup of tea, what they really need is somewhere to keep their stuff.

Honor Barratt

“Anil and Jim came to meet me and explained people in Chiswick were feeling underserved because of the lack of police presence” Honor told The Chiswick Calendar.

“What they need is a safe cycle store, secure lockers and somewhere secure to charge their body cams, ipads and walkie talkies or mobiles. Crucially they wanted somewhere private where they could shut the door and write a report.”

She is now talking to the Metropolitan Police property services department, who have not approved the arrangement yet. They have told her they will need a room to which only the police have fob access.

“We haven’t worked that out yet, but I don’t see it as an insurmountable problem. Jim Cope wanted to provide a better service by being based back in Chiswick again.

“My motivation is that I don’t want our old people to be shoved to the end of a cul de sac somewhere, I want them to be in the centre of things. I think this will be important to our oldies as a way they can contribute something to the ecosystem of Chiswick.”

READ ALSO: What policing in Chiswick is really like – Sergeant Jim Cope and PC Durr-e-Maknoon Tariq

Image above: PC Durr-e-Maknoon Tariq and Sergeant Jim Cope

No going back to a counter service

What neither she nor the police is considering is going back to the days when people who needed to see the police could just walk in and see them.

“Those days are long gone I think” she said. Victims of crime would still have to ring the police or contact them through their website, but it might be a place where local residents could meet local officers by appointment.

“Our proposal is that we provide all of this at no charge to the police (including unlimited coffee and cakes!) because it feels like this is the sort of neighbourhood activity that is needed to drive an increased feeling of security and community for all residents.”

Image above: Design presented in December 2022

Already a queue of elderly people from Chiswick who want to rent apartments

Birchgrove recently responded to an anonymous leaflet being circulated in the streets around the centre of the high road, suggesting if there are vulnerable elderly people concentrated in the centre of Chsiwick, residents will be more vulnerable to being targeted in the street by robbers.

“Clearly, having the police based in a building open 24 hours a day can only help make the three wards feel more secure.” said Ranjit. “I hope this gives Chiswick residents the assurance they need with greater police presence in Chiswick. I would like to thank Birchgrove and the support of the leader of the Council, Shantanu Rajawat, who is happy to support this plan.”

The proposed development at 205-211 Chiswick High Road is still awaiting planning permission. It comes up for discussion at Hounslow’s Planning Committee on Monday 5 February.

“We are very excited after waiting two years”, said Honor. “There has been a massive process of consultation, but the residents of Linden Gardens have been so helpful making suggestions and I think they take the view that if anyone’s going to develop the site, it might as well be us. It will be disruptive and there will be lots of dust while we’re building it, but we are in it for the long term. ”

There is already a queue of elderly people who live in Chiswick who have enquired about renting an apartment.

“They want to know when they can more in. So many people in Chiswick have made contact – old people who are sleeping in their sitting room because they are afraid to go up the stairs in their house.”

The details of the planning application can be found by searching using the reference (P/2023/1632) on Hounslow Council’s planning pages.

Images above: Mind volunteer Denise Hickey holds an empty clothes rack – a sign that something has been stolen; Hammersmith & Fulham’s Law Enforcement Team

A year of calls for stronger law enforcement in Chiswick

The initiative to bring police back to Chiswick has gained has momentum over the last year. The last officers left the old Chiswick Police Station in October 2021, a decision which was relentlessly criticised by Chiswick’s local councillors at the time, Conservative and Liberal Democrat alike.

Calls for some sort of boost to law enforcement in Chiswick were made following The Chiswick Calendar’s reporting on the significant rise in aggressive shoplifting and petty crime last summer. Chiswick councillors have also called for a dedicated Law Enforcement Team, like the one in Hammersmith & Fulham.

READ ALSO: Dramatic rise in shoplifting, theft and pickpocketing in Chiswick shops

READ ALSO: Does Chiswick need a Law Enforcement Team like Hammersmith?

READ ALSO: Hounslow Council leader “open for discussion” about borough-wide enforcement team to tackle theft and antisocial behaviour

Images above: Audience and policing panel at October’s meeting on crime in Chiswick

Last year, at a meeting organised by Chiswick’s Conservative councillors in October, residents vented their anger at local police officers for their response to the rise in crime. The meeting culminated in the Metropolitan Police Borough Commander for West London, Chief Superintendent Sean Wilson, admitting crime has gone up since Chiswick Police Station has closed – but not admitting this was necessarily because it had closed.

A few weeks after the meeting, an amendment to Hounslow Council’s motion on tackling crime by Chiswick’s Conservative councillors, which would have led to the creation of a dedicated Law Enforcement Team similar to Hammersmith & Fulham, was voted down, including by Chiswick’s Labour counncillr, Cllr Amy Croft, killing the proposal.

READ ALSO: Chiswick residents vent their anger at police about rising tide of crime in Chiswick

READ ALSO: Hounslow Council rejects calls for a dedicated team to tackle crime in Chiswick

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar