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Police chiefs refuse to quash fears over Droitwich station
THE chief constable of West Mercia Police has refused to quash fears Droitwich station is set for the axe - and has admitted there have been “discussions” over its future.
David Shaw, appearing at a meeting of the watchdog-style police and crime panel, said tough decisions would need to be made over some of the force’s least-used buildings.
During a Q & A session, which took place at County Hall this afternoon, he revealed talks will take place with police and crime commissioner Bill Longmore this month over stations.
He said: “We are acutely aware our future doesn’t just involve simply using the police estate, but involves the best possible use of that police estate.
“We recognise it’s got to be fit for purpose and that we are getting the best possible use of every pound we can.
“We’ve had a series of meetings so far and Droitwich has certainly featured in those discussions, as has every other station.
“The size, breadth and footprint of our estate will certainly change, and it has to - some stations are vastly underused and lie empty for days, if not weeks on end, but I can assure people whatever changes we make the level of service will remain high.”
The comments were partly in response to Councillor Ken Jennings, the leader of the Conservatives at Droitwich Town Council, who turned up at the start of the meeting to say there were “rumours circulating” about it closing.
He called upon Mr Longmore to “quash those fears” and confirm that it will remain open amid the review of buildings.
During the debate Mr Longmore said “robust” work was going on behind-the-scenes about future cuts to spending. “
The previous police authority left us with an excellent legacy and a great force, and we are going forward with confidence,” he said.
“We want to take the public with this, and get communities more involved to get the best out of the resources we have.”
Police chiefs are actively looking at sharing buildings with other public sector organisations, and when announcements are made over closures will launch consultations with each community first.
As your Worcester News previously reported, 140 police officer jobs are being scrapped as part of a plan to save £20 million at West Mercia Police.
The force is also merging some back office functions with Warwickshire Police, known as an ‘alliance’, to avoid more front line cuts.
* During today's meeting the panel also backed a move to freeze the police's portion of council tax in April - for more details see tomorrow's Worcester News.