Paul Kohler is taking legal action against London Mayor Sadiq Khan to challenge his decision to close police stations across London, including his local station in Wimbledon.
A pre-action protocol letter has been sent today by law firm Leigh Day, on behalf of Mr Kohler, to the Mayor of London.
The letter sets out Mr Kohler’s intentions to apply for a judicial review of the decision to close 37 police stations unless the Mayor is prepared to set aside the original decision and carry out a new consultation.
Mr Kohler, 58, believes that the original consultation and consequent decision were legally flawed and unlawful on two grounds:
- In making the decision the Mayor unlawfully applied specific costs saving criteria which had not been explained to consultees and meant certain matters were predetermined.
- The Mayor failed to give proper consideration to the consultation responses.
Mr Kohler was the victim of a violent attack in his home in Wimbledon in 2014 and he only survived because police officers were able to get to his house from the local station within eight minutes of the 999 call made by his daughter who heard the attack.
Mr Kohler suffered a fractured eye socket, broken nose and severe internal bleeding during the raid on his home. Four men were later sentenced to between 13 to 19 years’ imprisonment for the attack.
The London Mayor announced in November 2017 the decision to close at least 37 police stations across the capital in a bid to make financial savings.
The decision followed a consultation launched on 14 July 2017 by the Mayor of London Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC) on a Draft Public Access and Engagement Strategy (PAES) for the capital which was described by the Independent Consultation Institute as “the worst consultation of 2017”.
Mr Kohler is raising funds to support his legal challenge through the CrowdJustice site: Mr Kohler said:
"The police play a critical role in ensuring London remains an exciting, diverse and safe place in which to live, work and play. The Mayor’s plan to remove police from the heart of many of our communities is short-sighted and before it is put into action Londoners deserve to be properly consulted and listened to.”
Tessa Gregory, lawyer at law firm Leigh Day who is representing Mr Kohler, said: “We believe that the decision by the Mayor’s Office to close all of these police stations is unlawful as it was based on a flawed consultation with the local community and it failed to properly consider the responses to the consultation. It is Londoners who will be affected by this far-reaching decision and they have every right to have their views considered through a full and proper consultation process.”