West Mercia Police to axe 11 sites and relocate even more

Evesham Journal: Police and Crime Commissioner Bill Longmore and his deputy Barrie Sheldon at today's press conference Police and Crime Commissioner Bill Longmore and his deputy Barrie Sheldon at today's press conference

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 Droitwich, Pershore and Tenbury are among those to close in south Worcestershire, 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 yesterday, 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.

  • In Worcester, the police base at the Guildhall will close completely, saving around £18,000 a year in rent to the city council.  

The base in Spetchley Road, opposite Nunnery Wood High School will close and be relocated to an alternative venue, but otherwise the city has escaped unscathed.

  • In Malvern, the 24/7 response base which responds to 999 calls will be scrapped, with the service provided by Ledbury, Worcester or Evesham. 

It means when people in the town call 999 for the police, the response will come from the best available alternative, although force chiefs say Malvern’s station will stay open and beat patrols will continue.

  • In Droitwich, the police station will close, with a hunt starting for a new venue provided by another organisation on a shared basis.
  • Pershore Police Station will also shut, with exactly the same exercise due to take place about having a shared base elsewhere.
  • One of the worst affected areas will be Broadway, where the police station will shut without a replacement sought.

Instead, bosses will set up a community policing post, and rely on a safer neighbourhood team from Evesham.

  • Tenbury Wells police station, which does not have staffed public service desk, will also close and will be relocated elsewhere in a shared base.
  • Bromyard Police Station will close and an alternative base open up in a shared building, as well as Ross-on-Wye.
  • North Worcestershire has also taken a hit, with the base at Comberton in Kidderminster and Bewdley shutting completely. 

Bewdley will get a new community policing post where the public can drop in.

Both Comberton and Bewdley Safer Neighbourhood Teams will relocate to Kidderminster’s Habberly Road Station.

  • Redditch is hard hit, with offices in Crabbs Cross and the Kingfisher Centre shutting completely, as well as stations in Hagley and Wythall.

 

  • The cuts will kick in from April onwards, but bosses say it could take up to three years before all the changes are made, 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.

Click here for reaction to West Mercia's plans

Click here for Worcester News comment

Comments (18)

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6:31pm Thu 21 Feb 13

Nathan Barley says...

Bill Longmore has clearly done a fantastic job 'listening' to the people as per his campaign promise.

Maybe he didn't have his hearing aid turned on when the public spoke out in favour of retaining a 24hr Malvern response?
Bill Longmore has clearly done a fantastic job 'listening' to the people as per his campaign promise. Maybe he didn't have his hearing aid turned on when the public spoke out in favour of retaining a 24hr Malvern response? Nathan Barley
  • Score: 0

6:43pm Thu 21 Feb 13

Spadweller says...

Oh goody goody, now let's sit back and watch the rise in criminal activity in the affected areas.
Oh goody goody, now let's sit back and watch the rise in criminal activity in the affected areas. Spadweller
  • Score: 0

6:48pm Thu 21 Feb 13

Mr A Mazing says...

To be fair, the public will always speak in favour of retaining a 24hr response if it operates from the closest police station to them.

What doesn't make much sense with Malvern however is that fact that the police station is remaining open yet the 24/7 response section is being moved out. Perhaps this could be explained because there appears no obvious financial benefit to this.
To be fair, the public will always speak in favour of retaining a 24hr response if it operates from the closest police station to them. What doesn't make much sense with Malvern however is that fact that the police station is remaining open yet the 24/7 response section is being moved out. Perhaps this could be explained because there appears no obvious financial benefit to this. Mr A Mazing
  • Score: 0

7:41pm Thu 21 Feb 13

reflector says...

The Worcester News rightly questions the position regarding the Hindlip Hall Headquarters or is it just the community based operations that are taking the hit?

It's a pity that Messrs Longmore, Sheldon and Chief Constable Shaw haven't the bottle to stand up to the Government and tell them that cuts of this nature simply cannot be undertaken without them having a dramatic affect on policing in this country. It's a reckless gamble which puts at risk the safety of all of us.

If there was to be repetition of the riots of a couple of years ago, where are the police going to come from to deal with them? Surely, one of the lessons that was learnt was that disorder on that sort of scale can only be dealt with if you have police in sufficient numbers to regain control of the streets. Certainly West Mercia won't have sufficient police to protect their own area let alone helping out colleagues in the Met and West Midlands.
The Worcester News rightly questions the position regarding the Hindlip Hall Headquarters or is it just the community based operations that are taking the hit? It's a pity that Messrs Longmore, Sheldon and Chief Constable Shaw haven't the bottle to stand up to the Government and tell them that cuts of this nature simply cannot be undertaken without them having a dramatic affect on policing in this country. It's a reckless gamble which puts at risk the safety of all of us. If there was to be repetition of the riots of a couple of years ago, where are the police going to come from to deal with them? Surely, one of the lessons that was learnt was that disorder on that sort of scale can only be dealt with if you have police in sufficient numbers to regain control of the streets. Certainly West Mercia won't have sufficient police to protect their own area let alone helping out colleagues in the Met and West Midlands. reflector
  • Score: 0

8:24pm Thu 21 Feb 13

warriorwoody says...

reflectors comments I understand. However, I can assure you that the set up at Hindlip Hall is changing. There is so much based there that selling the Hall would not be viable because you would then need to find locations for all of the departments based there. It is not just the Chiefs Office!
The government already knows the score with the reduced funding. Bottom line is the expectation is the same policing service done by officers with less buildings and less police staff (civilians). The police officers will still patrol the areas that don't have stations as they do now so the public should not notice any difference in response times to emergencies etc. Hard times ahead for any employee that is not a police officer though :-(
reflectors comments I understand. However, I can assure you that the set up at Hindlip Hall is changing. There is so much based there that selling the Hall would not be viable because you would then need to find locations for all of the departments based there. It is not just the Chiefs Office! The government already knows the score with the reduced funding. Bottom line is the expectation is the same policing service done by officers with less buildings and less police staff (civilians). The police officers will still patrol the areas that don't have stations as they do now so the public should not notice any difference in response times to emergencies etc. Hard times ahead for any employee that is not a police officer though :-( warriorwoody
  • Score: 0

9:30pm Thu 21 Feb 13

ohcomeon says...

Shutting these buildings will save £1.5 million, but they have to save £20 million.
Where is the other £18.5 million going to come from?
Worth noting it's our dear leaders in Whitehall that are to blame for all this.....
Shutting these buildings will save £1.5 million, but they have to save £20 million. Where is the other £18.5 million going to come from? Worth noting it's our dear leaders in Whitehall that are to blame for all this..... ohcomeon
  • Score: 0

10:15pm Thu 21 Feb 13

Landy44 says...

We have to have the service we can afford I'm afraid and we can't afford what we've got.

THAT SAID...perhaps the police will now be more visible on the streets and their bosses will allow them to focus on real crime prevention and detection rather than settling for putting cameras everywhere.

Still - Bill Longmore clearly isn't up to the job - he needs to tell us where the other £18.5m is coming from, and how he will maintain some semblance of service.
We have to have the service we can afford I'm afraid and we can't afford what we've got. THAT SAID...perhaps the police will now be more visible on the streets and their bosses will allow them to focus on real crime prevention and detection rather than settling for putting cameras everywhere. Still - Bill Longmore clearly isn't up to the job - he needs to tell us where the other £18.5m is coming from, and how he will maintain some semblance of service. Landy44
  • Score: 0

6:57am Fri 22 Feb 13

green49 says...

Bill Longmore rules? what a mess this is going to be, i want Police on the beat but the last one i saw was a week ago by me at 10'oclock on a sunday morning??? criminals are still in bed are they not? they use cars aswell or has he not quite got that?
I do think some small places like Spetchley Road in Worcester could be closed as well there may be others like it but ones in full time use???
Bill Longmore rules? what a mess this is going to be, i want Police on the beat but the last one i saw was a week ago by me at 10'oclock on a sunday morning??? criminals are still in bed are they not? they use cars aswell or has he not quite got that? I do think some small places like Spetchley Road in Worcester could be closed as well there may be others like it but ones in full time use??? green49
  • Score: 0

8:08am Fri 22 Feb 13

Jack the Giantkiller says...

I don't think there are too many surprises in the report, given Bill Longmore's track record of looking after his own. Worcestershire and Herefordshire appear to have come out of this much worse than Shropshire.
I note that Mr Longmore's local police station at Pontesbury (a well-known hot bed of crime) will remain, and that the stations in Wellington and Madeley (surprisingly the local stations of his deputy, Barrie Sheldon) will not be affected by the cuts.
Three cheers for democracy.
I don't think there are too many surprises in the report, given Bill Longmore's track record of looking after his own. Worcestershire and Herefordshire appear to have come out of this much worse than Shropshire. I note that Mr Longmore's local police station at Pontesbury (a well-known hot bed of crime) will remain, and that the stations in Wellington and Madeley (surprisingly the local stations of his deputy, Barrie Sheldon) will not be affected by the cuts. Three cheers for democracy. Jack the Giantkiller
  • Score: 0

10:54am Fri 22 Feb 13

Give Up! says...

They don't think this will effect the service received!!! Worcester news should ask for response times etc under the freedom of information act now and again 6 months after the changes.... Don't expect official figures to truly reflect the situation...
They don't think this will effect the service received!!! Worcester news should ask for response times etc under the freedom of information act now and again 6 months after the changes.... Don't expect official figures to truly reflect the situation... Give Up!
  • Score: 0

11:25am Fri 22 Feb 13

TimmyM says...

While it is quite true that we have Whitehall to blame for this, dont let us forget that it was the profligacy of the previous Labour government who spent all the money and left the credit card bill to be paid by the coalition. For those of us who live in rural locations, we never see a police presence anyway and the police station in Pershore was closed many years ago and then moved into part of the Wychavon Civic Centre.
While it is quite true that we have Whitehall to blame for this, dont let us forget that it was the profligacy of the previous Labour government who spent all the money and left the credit card bill to be paid by the coalition. For those of us who live in rural locations, we never see a police presence anyway and the police station in Pershore was closed many years ago and then moved into part of the Wychavon Civic Centre. TimmyM
  • Score: 0

12:37pm Fri 22 Feb 13

1345 says...

Regarding police stations I'm not bothered about losing them. I'm more worried about our shrinking armed forces
Regarding police stations I'm not bothered about losing them. I'm more worried about our shrinking armed forces 1345
  • Score: 0

1:25pm Fri 22 Feb 13

denon says...

If there are fewer cosy offices ie Police stations, for policemen to hide in then more will be outside good thing.
If there are fewer cosy offices ie Police stations, for policemen to hide in then more will be outside good thing. denon
  • Score: 0

8:34pm Fri 22 Feb 13

Lew Smoralz says...

ohcomeon wrote:
Shutting these buildings will save £1.5 million, but they have to save £20 million.
Where is the other £18.5 million going to come from?
Worth noting it's our dear leaders in Whitehall that are to blame for all this.....
and they inherited the financial situation from... LABOUR. Once again Labour managed to destroy the UK economy and once again the Tories are having to put it right, with LibDem interference.

It's no good the Liebours trying to transfer the blame, they have done this too often in the past... they have form!
[quote][p][bold]ohcomeon[/bold] wrote: Shutting these buildings will save £1.5 million, but they have to save £20 million. Where is the other £18.5 million going to come from? Worth noting it's our dear leaders in Whitehall that are to blame for all this.....[/p][/quote]and they inherited the financial situation from... LABOUR. Once again Labour managed to destroy the UK economy and once again the Tories are having to put it right, with LibDem interference. It's no good the Liebours trying to transfer the blame, they have done this too often in the past... they have form! Lew Smoralz
  • Score: 0

9:17pm Fri 22 Feb 13

ohcomeon says...

Lew Smoralz wrote:
ohcomeon wrote:
Shutting these buildings will save £1.5 million, but they have to save £20 million.
Where is the other £18.5 million going to come from?
Worth noting it's our dear leaders in Whitehall that are to blame for all this.....
and they inherited the financial situation from... LABOUR. Once again Labour managed to destroy the UK economy and once again the Tories are having to put it right, with LibDem interference.

It's no good the Liebours trying to transfer the blame, they have done this too often in the past... they have form!
Tory, Labour or Liberal; from where I'm sitting they are all as bad as each other, slowly but surely dismantling all that was good about this country.
[quote][p][bold]Lew Smoralz[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]ohcomeon[/bold] wrote: Shutting these buildings will save £1.5 million, but they have to save £20 million. Where is the other £18.5 million going to come from? Worth noting it's our dear leaders in Whitehall that are to blame for all this.....[/p][/quote]and they inherited the financial situation from... LABOUR. Once again Labour managed to destroy the UK economy and once again the Tories are having to put it right, with LibDem interference. It's no good the Liebours trying to transfer the blame, they have done this too often in the past... they have form![/p][/quote]Tory, Labour or Liberal; from where I'm sitting they are all as bad as each other, slowly but surely dismantling all that was good about this country. ohcomeon
  • Score: 0

11:58pm Fri 22 Feb 13

New Kid on the Block says...

Less Police Stations will not mean more Bobbies on the Beat. Too far to walk to and from the Station, need a car.
Less Police Stations will not mean more Bobbies on the Beat. Too far to walk to and from the Station, need a car. New Kid on the Block
  • Score: 0

10:13pm Sat 23 Feb 13

RogerLFC says...

Ludlow is shutting apparently ... So where do the cars park at night with their expensive radio's that are fitted? In the Co-Op car park? Or dumped at Leominster? What about the commuting to where the car was last parked? All seems a bit mad to me but cash has run out obviously ....
Ludlow is shutting apparently ... So where do the cars park at night with their expensive radio's that are fitted? In the Co-Op car park? Or dumped at Leominster? What about the commuting to where the car was last parked? All seems a bit mad to me but cash has run out obviously .... RogerLFC
  • Score: 0

12:57pm Sun 24 Feb 13

DarrenM says...

How much would we save if he wasn't paying his mate 50k a year over 4 years ?

Do Billy or Barry seriously think they'll be re-elected next time round, even if they use that banana republic eu voting system again ?
How much would we save if he wasn't paying his mate 50k a year over 4 years ? Do Billy or Barry seriously think they'll be re-elected next time round, even if they use that banana republic eu voting system again ? DarrenM
  • Score: 0

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