Coventry Police bases may shut to save cash - The Coventry Observer

Coventry Police bases may shut to save cash

Coventry Editorial 18th Sep, 2014 Updated: 28th Oct, 2016   0

POLICE headquarters in the city could be closed as part of sweeping cost-cutting measures.

Coventry Central Station on Little Park Street – which is open to the public 24-hours each day – is one of six sites facing the axe following a review of police property.

Under the plans officers from smaller bases would move into buildings shared with other teams, which bosses say could save nearly £800,000 a year.

According to Assistant Police and Crime Commissioner, Faye Abbott, some of the buildings are often empty anyway because of reductions in officer numbers over the past four years.

She said: “Buildings are expensive to run and maintain.

“Coventry has nine police buildings costing £1.3 million per year, and with a £2.9 million maintenance backlog.

“It’s right to ask if we should be spending taxpayers’ money on little used buildings at the expense of officers on the beat.

“Maintaining local policing at a time of reduced funding requires innovation and creativity, for example we will look at joint community bases.

“West Midlands Police must put the public first in everything it does and it has a responsibility to provide suitable facilities at an acceptable cost.”

The force-wide estates review has looked at all property owned and leased by West Midlands Police across the region.

In Coventry the first stage of proposals would see several Neighbourhood Policing Teams re-positioned, allowing for the closure of bases in Tile Hill, Radford and Spon End – none of which are open to the public.

But in a second phase of changes, two of the city’s three accessible stations – Coventry Central and Foleshill – could both be shut.

A base at Bell Green could also be axed and the possibility of sharing sites with Coventry City Council and West Midlands Fire Service will be explored. No plan has been put forward for an alternative headquarters at this time.

Over the next two months police chiefs will seek feedback on their proposals from councillors and community groups.

Coventry Police Commander, Chief Superintendent Claire Bell, said: “No decisions will be made until we’ve heard from partners, community groups and residents and fed this back to the Police and Crime Commissioner for a decision.

“Whatever decisions are reached as part of our estates review we’re determined they will not be to the detriment of our communities which will continue to receive the same level of service and interaction with officers.

“Crime in Coventry continues to fall and we’re determined the downward trend continues so it’s important our police teams are located in the best places to serve their communities.”

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