Bases to close in police shake-up

By Gary Smee Thursday 21 February 2013 Updated: 22/02 11:14

A NUMBER of police bases will close completely and several others will be relocated as part of a major revamp of policing in the region.

West Mercia's Chief Constable, David Shaw, and Police and Crime Commissioner, Bill Longmore, unveiled a swathe of changes at the force's headquarters in Hindlip Park today (Thursday) as it looks to save £20.1 million by 2015.

Throughout the region the number of stations where police officers are based to respond to emergency calls will be slashed from 30 to 11 and the number of Safer Neighbourhood Teams (SNT) made up of a local police officer supported by PCSOs, special constables and volunteers will be cut to 82.

In south Worcestershire the main headquarters will remain in Castle Street in Worcester, but the SNT in the Guildhall will be closed and relocated to HQ and the SNT in Warndon will also move but the office will be retained.

The SNT base in Dines Green will be kept, but Spetchley Road will be moved.

Evesham Police Station will keep its SNT and patrol deployment base in Abbey Road, but Pershore will be moved elsewhere in the town.

Broadway Police Station will close and be relocated to Evesham but a new community policing post will open in the village which will allow officers to keep working with residents.

Droitwich will also keep its SNT but move to a new building.

In north Worcestershire bases in Crabbs Cross and the Kingfisher Centre in Redditch will close and will be moved to the town's main police station in Grove Street.

This building will also be closed and moved elsewhere in the town but it is not yet known when or where it will go.

Bromsgrove will be getting a new joint police and fire station while bases at Buntsford Gate and WMAS Bromsgrove will be closed and moved into the new police station.

Rubery retains its SNT base and will be joined by the SNT team from Wythall with a community policing post opening here.

The changes will save £1.5 million - the equivalent of 30 police officers or 50 PCSOs.

Ch Cons David Shaw said while they were not being complacent about the re-modelling, buildings did not provide protection and reassured people officers would still be available 24/7.

"Our estate will be smaller in the future and this will release money to pay for our workforce and other resources that deliver protection," he said.

"Crime levels are down and public confidence in policing is good. Response times will remain at the excellent level they currently are and we will also be moving towards officers using increased mobile technology. This will enable them to remain on the streets for longer and not have to return to base to check systems. This increased visibility and patrol time is better for our communities."

"With strong leadership and the confidence we have in our new approach we will ensure West Mercia remains a safe place to live and work."

Ch Cons Shaw added communities which were considered to be a priority would also have access to extra resources under the changes.

In north Worcestershire the five priority areas are Winyates and Matchborough, Greenlands & Lodge Park, Batchley & Central, Broadwaters and Oldington Foley Park & Sutton Park.

In the south of the county high priority areas will be Warndon, Gorse Hill & Rainbow Hill, Cathedral, Evesham Rural North and Pickersleigh.

Police and Crime Commissioner Bill Longmore said he had worked very closely with Ch Cons Shaw on the plan.

"Now this plan has been presented to me I will be seeking feedback from communities to ensure it is entirely fit for meeting the needs of those who live, work and visit West Mercia.

"It is vital to remember at this time that every pound saved on our estate means more money to protect people from harm."

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