Police announce station closures: ‘Bricks and mortar has little to do with policing’

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Just ONE police station will serve the city’s crime victims as chiefs shut down front counters - and hint at full closures in the imminent future.

Thames Valley Police has today announced that Bletchley, Newport Pagnell and Wolverton will be closed to the public from April 2016.

CMK station will now be the only station open to the public from 8am to 10pm seven days a week - instead of its current 24 hours a day.

Police chiefs say the force will act to “improve communication” with the public on the telephone, online and on social media.

They added that officers will use technology to work remotely - as they look to sell off police stations to bring in £29million worth of savings by 2021.

Deputy Chief Constable John Campbell said: “Bricks and mortar has little to do with policing, therefore officers and staff are being empowered to be more mobile in their work with the use of smart phones, tablets, laptops and wifi connection in vehicles.

“These changes are part of a larger review of our estate, as part of a programme called asset management. We are relinquishing buildings that are no longer fit for purpose or expensive to maintain.

“These changes to our estate are estimated to bring savings of £29m by 2021 and a combined revenue saving of approximately £1.7m per annum.

“I wish to reassure the public we are by no means withdrawing from our communities and the availability and visibility of police officers to attend incidents is not affected by front counter opening times. Across the Thames Valley we have substantial resources to deploy to any incident.”

The announcement follows the closure of Woburn Sands and Olney police information points (PIP), in February.

Two ‘non-public-facing’ offices in Bradville and Conniburrow also closed earlier this year as part of Thames Valley Police’s asset management plan to £44.6million over the next three years.

Anthony Stansfeld Police and Crime Commissioner said: “With a smaller budget and an ever increased demand on policing, it is vital that we look at ways we can improve the way we operate.

“We don’t want to see our buildings sitting empty, unused and costing money when the funding that’s saved can go into other areas where it is needed such as new technology, protecting vulnerable people, child abuse and domestic abuse.

“A review of our estate and the reinvestment of savings from the closing of assets that are underutilised will support the delivery of a more efficient and effective service to communities across the Thames Valley”.