Save London's Police Stations

by Paul Kohler

Save London's Police Stations

by Paul Kohler
Paul Kohler
I am a University of London legal academic and live, with my wife and four daughters, in Wimbledon, close to one of the police stations the Mayor of London has decided to close.
on 18th December 2017
pledged by 342 people
Paul Kohler
I am a University of London legal academic and live, with my wife and four daughters, in Wimbledon, close to one of the police stations the Mayor of London has decided to close.

Latest: June 9, 2018

Judgment expected to be handed down in July

The case lasted two full days as timetabled and was fascinating. The court were clearly impressed by the performance of our legal team and were left in no doubt about the inadequacies of the consul...

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My name is Paul Kohler. In 2014 I was attacked by 4 men who forced their way into our family home one evening. Thankfully I was saved by the bravery of officers from my local police station, who arrived within 8 mins of my eldest daughter dialling 999, and rescued me from, what would otherwise have been, a murderous assault that left me with extensive injuries and permanent double vision. 

The Mayor of London is now closing that station, along with at least 36 others in the capital, after a cursory and inadequate public consultation. I want to take him to court to ensure he consults Londoners properly and gives sensible consideration to the various options available to him.

Why is the Mayor of London closing police stations in a period of rising crime and increased terrorist threat?

The government has cut over £1billion from the Metropolitan Police budget and the Mayor is closing the police stations to partly cover the funding shortfall.

Why challenge the Mayor's decision if it was the result of Government cuts?

I am not blaming the Mayor for the Government's inexplicable decision to cut police funding at a time when both crime and terrorist activity are on the rise. However I am challenging his inadequate and partisan approach to the problem, which was described by the independent Consultation Institute as "the worst consultation of 2017". The Mayor's decision to restrict London to only one 24/7 police station per borough, for example, is far too rigid and ignores the needs of different areas. He has also failed to provide any hard evidence or figures to support his various assertions of the savings to be made and the efficiencies to be gained, nor to back up his assurance that his policy will not put Londoners at greater risk.

Why does it matter?

It is important that Londoners are permitted to exercise their right to be properly consulted and listened to before decisions are made that affect their daily lives. I do not believe any sensible consultation would have resulted in the Mayor confirming nearly all his original proposals, which were the result of an unimaginative, simplistic and inadequately researched assessment of the capital's current and future policing needs. 

What will the money be used for?

I have instructed the leading public law solicitors, Leigh Day, and one of the top silks in the field, David Wolfe QC, who have both agreed to act on a heavily discounted basis. The initial target will pay for their substantive advice and all correspondence under the pre-action protocol with the enhanced figure set to cover the subsequent court costs.

Londoners deserve a meaningful consultation that addresses, rather than ignores, their concerns over the closure of so many of their police stations and with your help we can make that happen.

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Update 11

Paul Kohler

June 9, 2018

Judgment expected to be handed down in July

The case lasted two full days as timetabled and was fascinating. The court were clearly impressed by the performance of our legal team and were left in no doubt about the inadequacies of the consultation. However only a fool predicts the outcome of litigation and, as many of you will know, the hurdle we have to climb in this type of case is very high. We expect judgment to be handed down next month. 

Update 10

Paul Kohler

June 5, 2018

Details of the case announced

The case has been scheduled for Court No.2 in the Royal Courts of Justice on the Strand. It will be heard by Lord Justice Lindblom and Mr Justice Lewis and will begin at 10.30AM on Wednesday 6 June and is due to last two days. There is a public gallery if you would like to attend although I am afraid it is not possible to guarantee a seat. 

Thank you again for all your support.

Update 9

Paul Kohler

May 27, 2018

Case commences on 6 June 2018

After announcing a delay last week the Court have, in response to a strong representation from the Mayor's Office, now brought the date of the hearing into the police station consultation forward! I understand that the case will definitely commence on 6 June at the Royal Courts of Justice in the Strand.

Update 8

Paul Kohler

May 25, 2018

Case moved up to the Divisional Court & likely to be delayed until July

We have just been informed that the case has been moved up to the Divisional Court (ie a tier above the High Court) and will be heard by at least two, and probably three, judges. This normally signifies that it raises important issues of policy and/or law and is an exciting development. Unfortunately that means that the hearing date has now been put back and postponed until later in June or, more likely, July. Costs, as you can imagine, continue to mount in light of such developments and I would be extremely grateful for any additional donations people fee able to make.

Update 7

Paul Kohler

May 2, 2018

Date of judicial review hearing set

A date has now been agreed for the judicial review.  The case has been set down for three days commencing on 5 June. If you are interested in following the details of the case many of the court papers, including the various parties' filed witness statements and appendices, are public documents and available on application to the court.

Update 6

Paul Kohler

April 9, 2018

Things beginning to gather pace

Matters are moving forward quite rapidly, although the High Court are not proposing to hold the judicial review hearing until the local elections are behind us and the political makeup of Merton Council is decided.

We are due to agree a date for the hearing, which the court are anticipating will take longer than a standard judicial review, over the next week.

We will be making an important announcement very shortly and are redoubling our efforts to raise further funds for the coming battle.

Update 5

Paul Kohler

Feb. 27, 2018

Everything still to play for....

In response to repeated requests, from our lawyers Leigh Day, the Mayor of London has finally admitted, in pre-hearing correspondence, that none of the police stations due to close have yet been sold. This is despite a whispering campaign intended to give the impression that the sell off is a done deal and any action on our part is futile. In fact quite the contrary is the case with his lawyers now stating that our "claims will have been determined before any disposals of the affected properties are made". 

Update 4

Paul Kohler

Jan. 25, 2018

We've lodged papers with the High Court

This afternoon we lodged papers in the High Court to begin the process of judicial review. I am consequently redoubling my efforts to raise funds for the forthcoming court action which, despite the heavily discounted fees being charged by Leigh Day and and our silk David Wolfe QC, are still considerable.

There is an excellent article on pages 8 and 9 of today's Evening Standard alongside a report detailing yet another increase in London crime. I think that demonstrates why this is not the time for the government to cut police funding, nor for the Mayor to remove police stations from the heart of so many communities.

I will email all backers with a more detailed update including my witness statement once I get the go ahead from Leigh Day. 

Update 3

Paul Kohler

Jan. 11, 2018

The Mayor has responded

The Mayor has now responded to our letter under the pre-action protocol. Unfortunately, rather than withdraw his decision, he has sought to justify his unlawful consultation, despite it attracting further criticism this week on prime time TV, with Rhion Jones, of the independent Consultation Institute, describing it as "abysmal" on BBC 1's London Evening News. We are consequently continuing to prepare our case and are now seeking the help of anyone who made a written response to the consultation. If you did, and are willing to share it with me and our lawyers,  please forward it to 

Update 2

Paul Kohler

Dec. 21, 2017

We've issued the Mayor with formal notice under the pre-action protocol

The starting pistol in Paul Kohler v Mayor of London for Policing and Crime has now been fired.

Sadiq Khan today received a formal legal letter stating that we believe the original consultation and consequent decision were legally flawed and unlawful on two grounds:

1) In making the decision the Mayor unlawfully applied specific cost saving criteria which had not been explained to consultees and meant certain matters were predetermined.  

2) The Mayor failed to give proper consideration to the consultation responses.

I have consequently asked him to set aside his decision and conduct a second lawful consultation; following which he has been asked to conscientiously consider the responses and make a fresh decision. Failing that he is required to provide various information within 10 working days which we will review before seeking permission to proceed with Judicial Review.

A copy of the letter will be posted to all those who have pledged their support in my next email update.

Update 1

Paul Kohler

Dec. 19, 2017

We've hit our initial target

I am pleased to report we hit our initial target last night allowing us to proceed with issuing a formal letter to the Mayor under the pre-action protocol informing him that we are considering applying for judicial review. 

Unfortunately announcements to the press, from his office, show little evidence the Mayor is willing to back down and it thus looks likely we will end up in court. I am consequently continuing to appeal more widely for funds to meet the costs of the likely battle and have been fortunate to secure some press interest over the last couple of days, including both an article in the Times and appearances on ITV London News, Good Morning Britain and the Vanessa Feltz Show on Radio London.

I am also delighted to have been asked to write the following op ed by the Daily Mail, which is their main feature in today's edition. I'd be grateful if you could share it amongst family, friends and colleagues, throughout London, as I am now keen to reach all those affected by these cuts.

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