Rotherhithe Police Station closed its doors to the public for the last time this week.
A new police ‘contact point’ – open for just three hours a week – has been introduced at Canada Water Library.
Officers will be available at the library on Wednesday and Thursday evenings between 7pm and 8pm and on Saturdays from 2pm to 3pm.
The police station closure is part of the Met’s new local policing model which sees Safer Neighbourhood Teams reorganised into clusters to cover a number of wards.
Assistant Commissioner Simon Byrne said: “We’ve listened to the public and understand people just want to know police are close by. So we are changing the way we do things to make neighbourhood policing our priority
“We will now have around 200 places for the public to access police, in more convenient locations and at differing times.
“We are telling Londoners exactly where their police will be and when, making it clearer what the best way to access police is depending on what their need is.”
Simon Hughes MP said: “In my March response I stated my support for Walworth police station to remain accessible for 24 hours a day and for Southwark police station to remain one of the principal police stations in the borough. I said that I was willing to support the change to only one 24 hour accessible police station provided the counter service was significantly improved at all police stations and bases which have front counters and which are accessible to the public.
“I said that I did not object to the plan to close Rotherhithe police station provided that a replacement permanent police base for Rotherhithe, equally or more accessible to the public, is provided before the present station closes. I also made clear that there must continue to be a police front counter in SE16.
“I therefore welcome the fact that Walworth police station, in my constituency, will remain open to the public 24 hours a day and that Southwark police station, in my constituency, will remain a principal Southwark police station with the front counter open during day time.
“It is not acceptable that there is not as of today a replacement front counter open for the people of SE16 to replace Rotherhithe police station.”
Mr Hughes said that the Canada Water Library contact point is “not a reasonable substitute” for the police station.
He added: “This is a clear failure of the Mayor of London and the Met police to honour the commitments they gave locally that no police station would close without adequate police presence to replace them.
“Of course it is welcome that crime figures are falling significantly in Southwark as elsewhere in London. And the commitment to increase the number of officers doing neighbourhood policing is also welcome.
“On behalf of the people of Bermondsey and North Southwark, I will now hold the police to account to make sure we have the number of inspectors, sergeants, constables and police community support officers promised in our area and we will go on pushing the police to agree with the council or another landlord to get the level of police counter service for SE16 which the community needs and expects.”
Rotherhithe Police Station is to be sold by the Met and it is expected that a new local base for officers on patrol will be provided at Seven Islands Leisure Centre.