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Ludlow and Tenbury among police stations to close
6:19pm Thursday 21st February 2013 in News
ELEVEN police bases across the West Mercia force area are to close completely in a bid to slash £1.5 million, it has emerged.
A further 19 will be shut and replaced by alternative sites, some of which are likely to offer a scaled-down face-to-face service.
Chief constable David Shaw said the move was a better alternative than more police officer cuts, saying “buildings provide no protection, people do”. Some of the sites to close are fully functioning as police stations, while others are used as drop-in bases for officers on the beat, or for administration work.
Buildings in Ludlow, Tenbury and Bishops Castle are among those to close, all of which will result in alternative bases springing up in each local area.
The overall number of 24/7 police patrol bases will reduce from 30 to 11, while the Safer Neighbourhood Teams will go from 145 to 82 under the plans.
Police and crime commissioner Bill Longmore, outlining the cuts this afternoon, said: “We all know we are facing challenges.
“I can look back at generations of past policing from 30 or 40 years ago and can safely say the basics have not changed, it’s all about people.
“We have got to change things because of the austerity measures in the public sector, which is why we’ve looked at this.”
Mr Shaw added: “We’ve got to maximise our spend on the front line, and the critical emphasis is on the service we provide.
“We don’t want to portray an image that this isn’t tough - we’ve got to find £20 million in savings, but we want to make sure the impact on the public is minimal.”
The cuts, which will kick in from April onwards, will take place between now and 2015, as and when deals can be struck with private or public sector bodies to share new sites.
The force also says without the closures 30 police constable jobs, or 50 PCSO positions would potentially be under threat in order to make the saving.
Tenbury Wells police station, which does not have staffed public service desk, will also close and staff will be relocated elsewhere in a shared base.
Ludlow and Bishops Castle police stations will close and an alternative base open up in a shared building with a "partner" agency.
Church Stretton will retain a base for its Safer Neighbourhood Team.
Cleobury Mortimer will have a Community Policing Post in a location to be confirmed such as a community centre, group meeting venue, school or shop.
The cuts will kick in from April onwards, but bosses say it could take several months before any buildings actually close, as so many are dependent on alternative bases being found.
Two consultations are taking place, the first of which is at Shropshire Food Enterprise Centre in Shrewsbury on Thursday, February 28, from 1pm. The second one will be at Worcester’s Whitehouse Hotel, in Foregate Street, on Tuesday, March 5, also from 1pm.