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Worcestershire police stations could be closed and sold off
POLICE stations across Worcestershire are being “reviewed” by the region’s new elected crime chief – who says some could be sold off or used as a money generator.
Bill Longmore, the police and crime commissioner for West Mercia, believes there is scope for shutting some down and moving officers to alternative venues.
In recent years other forces have closed down largely redundant buildings – often to share bases with councils or operate mobile bases in supermarkets and community centres.
Mr Longmore told your Worcester News he is “looking at every police station” to see if any are not fit-for-purpose.
The news comes one day after it was revealed 140 police officer jobs will be axed across West Mercia by 2016.
Mr Longmore said: “We will be looking at every police station, but any decisions we make will not be taken lightly.
“There may be some that are closed down, but if that is the case I want to make sure we can offer an alternative. There has to be other options as I don’t want to ever be accused of not taking the right decisions. Whatever we decide, it won’t be taken lightly. But we will be looking at it carefully.”
A draft police plan, which is out for public consultation, also includes scrapping 315 civilian jobs at West Mercia Police over the next four years. It says police community support officers (PCSOs) will be given more powers and protected from redundancy.
Worcester MP Robin Walker said: “The police do an excellent job and the important thing is that we don’t take anything from the front line.”
Mr Longmore is facing calls to resign after Worcestershire councillors published a ‘no confidence’ motion in him.
A full council meeting is scheduled for Thursday, where the party will press for a vote of ‘no confidence’ in them. Mr Longmore, a former officer with Staffordshire Police, hired his former campaign manager Mr Sheldon as his £50,000 assistant against the wishes of the watchdog-style Police and Crime Panel, which argued he had not followed an “open and transparent” process.
Councillor Alan Amos, from County Hall’s Labour group, said: “There is unprecedented concern”. A joint statement has been produced by the duo saying they are “disappointed” by the motion. It states: “We would ask that people judge us on our achievements over the course of the next three-and-a-half years, and not on a period when we have only been in office for about two months.”