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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