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Commissioner moves ahead with plans for police stations to tackle funding shortage

Following a period of public consultation, Police and Crime Commissioner Paddy Tipping and Nottinghamshire Police are to proceed with plans to relocate some police stations and reduce some rarely used front counter services, in order to meet the funding gap, it was announced today.

The Force faces one of its toughest years financially, with some £12.7m of savings required over the next 12 months - on top of the £42m already secured. As a result, the Commissioner has been working closely with the Force to identify efficiencies within the current estate which will save money and help to develop a leaner operation.

Earlier this year a series of proposals were put forward which included potentially selling Arnold and Carlton Police Stations – delivering annual revenue savings of £180,000 per year - and creating a new multi-services hub in partnership with Gedling Borough Council and Nottinghamshire County Council.

A new community police station has been proposed for Carlton which would accommodate the neighbourhood policing team, response officers and investigation teams while officers and staff from Sneinton will relocate to St Ann’s Police Station.

In addition, a community police station facility for officers will be set up in Sneinton before the current Police Station is closed to release some capital funds. Similarly, in the Meadows, officers and staff will relocate to Riverside and a community police station facility will be established ahead of the closure of the existing station itself.  

The plans, which have been designed to achieve a savings target of £2.4m over three years, have been subject to an intense period of public consultation which ended at the end of June and attracted a relatively small number of responses despite widespread publicity. Of the 32 opposition comments received via the Commissioner’s office, most were in respect of Carlton Police Station (26). A further 14 phone calls were received opposing the closure of Carlton and the Commissioner accepted a petition signed by 2,813 Carlton and Gedling residents voicing concern at the station’s closure.

As a result of the consultation and to address public concern, Commissioner Tipping has now postponed the closure of the front counter at Carlton until a suitable alternative has been found which lends itself to shared working facilities with partners.

Commissioner Tipping said: “Throughout this consultation, I’ve held meetings with various groups and public representatives to explain our financial position and the restrictions this places on our resources. While people didn’t necessarily like the fact that stations and front counters must change to negotiate current funding pressures, they did understand that we have little room to manoeuvre and our hands are effectively tied.

“However we approach it, it always comes down to the same predicament: do we safeguard police officers or buildings? I think it’s fair to say that no-one wants to put buildings before police officers so the only way around it is to utilise our front counters more effectively and according to public demand.

“I’m very mindful of the concerns residents have around access to police during the interim period which is why we’ve agreed to postpone the closure of Carlton’s front counter until a suitable replacement is open. We are currently in talks with local partners to identify co-located premises to replace all closures and will continue to work hard to find the best solution in the future.

“However, I think it’s important to reiterate once again that none of these changes will alter response times or reduce police visibility within our communities. The footfall figures show that people prefer to contact the police using more modern methods such as email and neighbourhood policing officers will still be out on patrol across the county.  In fact they will be spending even more time in their designated areas thanks to mobile technology enabling them to work on-the-job and without a permanent desk.”

Assistant Chief Constable Simon Torr said: “We have recognised for some time now that people much prefer using other ways to contact the police rather than turning up at a station. Only fifty percent of our current police stations are well used as our communities contact us in all sorts of other ways.

“That has given us the flexibility to reduce the number of buildings we have without having a detrimental impact on the level of service we offer to the public. It is important that our service matches what people need and want from their local police and we are committed to providing that.

“Exciting projects such as virtual front counters, Smartphone apps and greater use of the force website and social media will also allow us to offer greater choice for people in how they make contact with the police in the future.

“We also know that the public like shared services option such as the facility we have in West Bridgford with Rushcliffe Borough Council because they provide a one stop shop for citizens offering a range of services.”

ENDS 

Under the proposals, Nine front counters to remain open at the following times:

  • 0800-2000hrs (Monday to Sunday) Radford Road, Central, Mansfield, Worksop, and Newark;
  • 1000-1800hrs (Monday to Friday) Sutton in Ashfield and Clifton (virtual front counter);
  • 0830-1700hrs (Monday to Thursday) and 0830-1630hrs (Friday) Beeston;
  • 0830-1800hrs (Monday to Friday) and 0900-1300hrs (Saturday) West Bridgford
  • 1000-1800hrs (Monday-Friday) Eastwood virtual front counter

 

Seven front counters are to close at the following police stations:

  • Carlton (to remain open until a suitable alternative is opened)
  • Hucknall;
  • Oxclose Lane;
  • Ollerton;
  • Retford;
  • Bulwell;
  • St Ann’s.

 

Media Enquiries:   Sallie Blair - 01283 821012 / 07702 541401

 

Posted on Monday 21st July 2014
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