A police station in the North of the city will be sold off to help pay for massive savings needing to be made by Lancashire Police.Advertisement
Fulwood Police Station is being closed after a three month review on how the police force staffs front counters across the county.
Lancashire Police confirmed this morning the station, on Watling Street Road would no longer have officers based there, with staff moving to the new operating centre near the city centre.
Chief Superintendent James Lee, who covers the central division, which includes Fulwood, said response officers had not been based in the building for five years.
He said: “One of the misconceptions that came out consistently throughout the period of consultation was that response times to incidents would suffer with the closure of Fulwood Police Station but what I have been reminding the public of is that response officers have not been based there for around five years so the closure will not have an impact in this sense.
“Whilst there will be a little disappointment for some in relation to Fulwood, the majority of people will see no change whatsoever which given the very difficult financial decisions the Constabulary is having to take at present, has to be good news.”
Fulwood will be one of 31 police buildings sold off throughout Lancashire bringing a £4.5 million windfall for the police who need to make savings of around £42m over the next four years.
The consultation on the front office counters ran for three years and 14 front counters in police stations will be closed, compared with the initial 21 proposed in July.
One of the police stations being saved is Broughton, which was earmarked for being sold off but police chiefs have now done a u-turn.
The report states the police station cannot be closed due to potential developments in the area which may see a rapid expansion in the population of the area – as noted in the new Central Lancashire Core Strategy which plans for thousands of new homes could be built across Preston and the surrounding area.
Chief Supt Lee added that the police hoped to keep officers based in Broughton for the next two years, but they would be closing the front counter to the public.
Changes at Preston’s other police stations will see the Town Hall’s police desk close, Lea police station remains an operational base and the main operating centre on Lancaster Road North has a manned front counter.
Chair of Lancashire Police Authority Malcolm Doherty, who wrote a guest post for Blog Preston on the issue, said the authority had to protect officers jobs rather than buildings.
He said: “We have to bear in mind that it’s people, not buildings, who cut crime and we are determined that Lancashire communities will continue to receive good policing services, despite the financial climate.
“Many of the buildings concerned were constructed in a different era, and policing has evolved beyond recognition since then, with different requirements.”
Union leaders welcomed the move to only close 14 front counters rather than 21, and the three month long consultation which saw 11,000 people give their views across the county.
Maureen Le Marinel, Unions branch secretary, said: “Unison welcomed both the extensive consultation process with the communities, and the open and honest approach to that process with the staff affected.
“In respect of our members’ jobs, increasing the number of front counters that will remain open will have a positive impact on their continued employment.”
The 14 front counters will close on 1st June 2012.
Image credit to Johnny English
What do you think about the closure? Do you live in Fulwood or Broughton? What do you think about the decisions? Let us know your views in the comments below