Cumbria Constabulary to sell police stations across county
Last updated at 11:37, Wednesday, 21 December 2011
Cumbria Constabulary is to sell a number of police stations and buildings to help it towards savings of more than £20 million.
The force bases are among 12 stations or buildings that are going countywide in one of the biggest changes in Cumbrian policing arrangements in years.
Allerdale and Copeland appeared today to be the areas most affected by the dramatic moves, which were signed off in a bid to help plug a black hole in police finances in Cumbria.
Force chiefs say that on the whole there will be new bases for officers, with some moving into other buildings in the towns, sharing with the fire service or operating from new offices.
The constabulary has been forced to examine its set-up because budget cuts mean it will have to tighten its belt to the tune of more than £20 million by 2015.
There has been a review of all stations, offices and buildings, known as the police estate, to see if they provide value for money and meet the needs of communities and the squads covering the beats.
The moves were approved in a behind-closed-doors meeting of the county force watchdog, Cumbria Police Authority, last night.
The overall shake-up will save around £119,000 a year in running costs – and is expected to raise about £2.8m through the sale of the buildings.
A statement issued by the force stressed it was “a small number of buildings that are under-occupied and underused” that will close.
It added that cash saved will be used to improve the overall quality of the police estate and “help protect visible policing in Cumbria”.
It was also revealed a separate review is underway to consider the future of front counter services across the county.
The statement issued by police said the station in Maryport was “too big for operational need” and underused. Officers will move to Maryport fire station. Workington Police Station will remain in use, it was confirmed. The future of front counter services in both towns “will be considered in a separate review”.
Buildings in the Copeland neighbourhood patch are said to be “inefficient, costly and underused”.
Officers in Egremont will move to the town’s fire station. The force says Whitehaven Police Station is four miles away from Cleator Moor and the shutdown will have “no impact on policing patrols or emergency response” in the town.
It adds stations and buildings in Wigton, Keswick and Cockermouth are “old, not fit for purpose” and not in the best places.
Cockermouth station, it adds, is “expensive to maintain, lacks in parking and does not provide sufficient space”.
Police chiefs say there will be a new central base in the town with better road links. Talks are underway to get a new building.
Two new bases will be opened at Silloth and Aspatria fire stations, which the force says will provide accommodation for officers and community support officers “for the first time in a number of years”.
There are no plans to open front counters but residents can make appointments with officers.
In Keswick, officers will move to the town’s fire station, while in Wigton officers will relocate to the town’s Local Links Centre.
In the north of the county, Alston station will be sold and the main part of Kirkby Stephen police station will go, with officers using an attached annex.
In Alston staff will move to the town’s Topps Building, next to the station.
Other stations or buildings will be sold in Millom and in the south of the county.
Deputy Chief Constable Stuart Hyde said the way communities and police teams used stations had “changed significantly”.
“Communities tell us that they want to see officers and community support officers in the community, rather than sitting behind a desk,” he added.
“So it is vital that we modernise our police estate and ensure that our accommodation meets the needs of a police force in the 21st century.
“I understand that people in Cumbria will feel a certain level of reassurance in seeing a police building in their community, but it is our officers and staff that provide a service, not our estate.
“Officers and community support officers will continue patrolling as normal and will be even more visible.”
Ray Cole, chairman of Cumbria Police Authority, said: “The constabulary has invested heavily in mobile working technology and officers can now complete paperwork and access police systems by accessing mobile devices while in the community, vastly reducing the need for them to use police stations. Detectives can also interview people using mobile recording equipment.
“All of this means that the traditional view of a police station is no longer a reality. Officers spend the majority of their time in the community, leaving many of our buildings oversized, underused and outdated.
“We have approved a raft of changes that will save money for years to come, improve the flexibility and usability of the police estate in Cumbria and generate income to improve accommodation for Neighbourhood Policing Teams and the community.”
Properties to be sold:
- Alston police station - officers and PCSOs move into Topps Building
- Kirkby Stephen police station - neighbourhood policing team to continue using adjacent annex
- Wigton police station - officers and PCSOs to move into accommodation in Local Links building
- Keswick police station - officers and PCSOs to move into accommodation shared with fire service
- Cockermouth police station - neighbourhood policing team to move to new site with better road links
- Maryport police station - officers and PCSOs to move into shared accommodation in town's fire station
- Cleator Moor police station
- Egremont police station - officers and PCSOs to use fire station
- Millom police station - officers and PCSOs to use shared accommodation in Network Centre
- Milnthorpe police station house - officers to continue using annex
- Ambleside police station and house - officers to continue using annex
- Dalton police station - officers to move into fire station
There are no changes proposed in the Carlisle area. A new police station is to be built in Barrow.
First published at 08:41, Wednesday, 21 December 2011
Published by http://www.newsandstar.co.uk
Have your say
When are they planning on selling these buildings? I think its such a shame, there's going to be nothing left on the streets at this rate apart from flats
Fact 1 - Conservative government forced the closure of Cumbria village police stations in late 80's, early 90's. (can you remember how safe and reassured you were to have a police house with a police officer living in your street because I can?) Fact 2 - Conservative led government force closure of Cumbria Town stations now and centralise Cumbria Fire Service call centre out of the County. Fact 3 - Conservatives will plough on to centralise your local Cumbria police service in Lancashire leaving you with nothing but a skeleton service in Cumbria. I think it may be you who needs to "get real"! You don't know what you miss until you haven't got it.
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