Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Police Stations to Close

Steelhouse Lane Police Station, which is set to close.

By Ben Aulakh.

Three police stations in Birmingham are to close as the coalition governments spending cuts to police budgets across the country continue to bite.

West Midlands Police (WMP has saved £126 million over the last four years, however it’s now been tasked with the job of cutting its budget by £20 million more over the next 12 months. 

One of the stations to close is WMP’s main city centre station on Steelhouse Lane, which has been in operation for more than a century.

The building will eventually be put up for sale, city police stations at Aston and Edgbaston will also be closed.

Staff currently based at the Steelhouse lane site will move to the force’s Lloyds Lane headquarters, while some officers from Edgbaston and Aston may be relocated to supermarkets, schools or churches.

The total cost of the closures is expected to be around £24 million, however the force says the changes will save around £17 million over the next five years.

WMP Chief Constable Chris Sims told BBC Midlands Today,” I think that everyone expects us to be putting all our efforts into protecting frontline policing services.

“And if we can do with fewer buildings and spend less of our money on estate, which is what we are going to be doing, then that’s a good thing for communities here who expect to see police officers on the street.”

He said the stations in Edgbaston and Aston would not close for another years, and would not happen until the force had “thoroughly consulted” with local communities about the service WMP provided.

The force currently operates out of 140 sites across the force’s area, as part of the plans two new “Super Custody” Blocks will be built in Sandwell and Perry Barr, to replace those being lost at the stations which are closing.

The stations closures are the latest in a raft of savings which have been foisted on the force by the current coalition government.

In March last year WMP announced it would have to make more than a hundred million pounds in savings as part of the government’s Comprehensive Spending Review.

That included £25 million in the year 2012/2013, as well as £16 million in cost-cutting measure in 2013/2014.

The force has also been forced cut its staffing by 81 since the current government came to power, leaving 151 roles empty and giving 234 officers new roles.

Photo from the Birmingham Mail

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