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High Court hears legal challenge to plans for police station closures in London

The High Court this week heard a legal challenge to the London Mayor’s Office for Police and Crime’s (MOPAC’s) plans to close 37 of the 73 police stations across the capital.

The case was brought by Paul Kohler, 59, a legal academic based at SOAS University who was the victim of a violent attack in his home in Wimbledon in 2014.

His legal team, led by David Wolfe QC of Matrix Chambers and law firm Leigh Day, argued that the original public consultation and consequent decision were legally flawed and unlawful.

It was claimed that the Mayor “did not give proper consideration to the responses from a flawed consultation that failed both to reveal the criteria on which he made his decision; and provided insufficient information to enable Londoners to properly respond”.

Solicitor Tessa Gregory from Leigh Day said ahead of the hearing: “It is our client’s case that the decision to close these stations is unlawful. The Mayor decided to embark on a London-wide consultation, and a consultation of that scale which affects so many different communities, clearly needed to be very carefully planned with the public receiving adequate information to ensure they could respond intelligently.

“Our client contends that this consultation was marked by confusion: confusion over documents, confusion over the criteria to be applied - including the application of unpublished criteria and confusion over what information the public should be provided with and why.”

Four men were sentenced to between 13 to 19 years’ imprisonment for the crime against Mr Kohler, who believes he only survived because police officers were able to get to his house from the local station in Wimbledon - one of the stations due to close - within eight minutes of the 999 call made by his daughter.

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