Boris challenged over policing

The Mayor, Boris Johnson, is challenged over planned closures of police station front counters and cuts to London Fire Brigade. More than 30 fire stations are earmarked for closure due to a budget shortfall of £50million.

Mayor defends plans to close front counters at police stations

The row about planned police cuts has exploded today, with claims that rape victims could be forced to report to officers based in coffee shops or supermarkets.

The Met has to make savings and Boris Johnson has defended closing front desks at police stations in favour of so-called "pop-up access points".

But critics claim some of those alternatives could put people off reporting crime.

The details now from our Political Correspondent Simon Harris.

Boris: 'What matters to London is threat of fire continues to diminish'

Conservative Gareth Bacon accused Labour's Andrew Dismore of being "alarmist".

Bacon also asked if the government had indicated more money might be available for the fire service.

Boris Johnson said: "There is no such indication".

The Green Party also expressed its concern over the fire service.

Londoners are desperately worried about these fire station closures.

– Green Darren Johnson

There is no definitive list. This is all for discussion by LFEPA.

– Johnson on fire station closures

What matters to London is the threat of fire continues to diminish and the fire brigade should get there fast.

– London Mayor Boris Johnson

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Boris defends 'fire cover' after Labour attack on response times

by Simon Harris

Labour claimed proposals to be considered by the fire authority tomorrow would see 31 fire stations axed.

Labour MP Andrew Dismore said every borough but one would have worse response times.

There will be fire service professionals who will say fire cover is very good.

You have my absolute assurance I will fight for improved services for London.

There will always be a need where people can go in confidence and expect to find a police officer.

– London Mayor Boris Johnson

Boris: 'It's my job to ensure we have better policing'

by Simon Harris

When Boris faced a full frontal assault at Mayor's Question Time over police station closures, he said:

It's my job to ensure we have better policing in this city and bring down crime.

– London Mayor Boris Johnson

He defended pop-up front counters as "creative solutions for the police estate", adding that there was no final plan. But he did say that when there is an agreed proposal "of course I will front that up".

Labour Assembly members claim police chiefs are being bounced into agreeing closures without proper consultation.

Boris defends closure of police station front counters

by Simon Harris
Mayor of London Boris Johnson makes a speech.
Mayor of London Boris Johnson makes a speech. Credit: PA

Mayor of London Boris Johnson was asked at Mayor's Question Time to defend the closure of police station front counters. Lib Dem Caroline Pidgeon said one in four rapes are reported at front counters.

Pidgeon asked if it is right for rape victims to report offences at "pop-up stalls in the coffee shop at Asda". Johnson described Pidgeon's comments as cynical and said the public will regard new front counters as "innovative".

Labour's Andrew Dismore said Hampstead police station will be replaced by a 4-hours-a-week counter in Costa Coffee.

Dismore angrily accused Johnson of "ducking" responsibility.

Boris said: "You are entitled to bust a blood vessel."

The Mayor told Dismore he shouldn't "fetishise bricks and mortar".

Boris faces fire questions

Boris toured the new fire control centre in West London in February Credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA Archive/Press Association Images

The Mayor, Boris Johnson, will face tough questions from London Assembly members over plans to close more than 30 fire stations.

The budget for the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority (LFEPA) is being cut by £64.5million over the next two years.

Emergency services at the scene of a fire and explosion in Denmark Hill, Camberwell Credit: Lewis Whyld/PA Wire

Labour members say to meet the funding gap, 31 stations and 36 fire appliances are earmarked to be cut. The list of closures has been revealed in a report that will be presented to LFEPA this week.

The Fire Brigades Union has described the planned closures as "completely unacceptable" and say they believe public safety will be affected.

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Boris faces tough questions

The mayor of London, Boris Johnson is to face a tough grilling by the London Assembly this morning.

Members at Mayor's Question Time, will address a range of issues during the two and and half hour session, including the recent cuts announced to the London Fire Brigade.