West Mercia's Police and Crime Commissioner Bill Longmore fends off calls to sell Hindlip Hall HQ instead of closing police bases

Worcester News: Police in West Mercia are facing changes Police in West Mercia are facing changes

COMMUNITIES across south Worcestershire have hit out at police cuts - with some calling it an “open invitation to criminality” and even suggesting Hindlip Hall HQ should be sold instead.

The cull of up to 31 bases across the West Mercia Police force area has been described as “disappointing” by campaigners.

More details emerged today – with police chiefs revealing that by 2015 the control room at Hindlip could be handling calls for the whole of West Mercia, as well as for Warwickshire.

Bosses are consulting over closing the control room at Shrewsbury, and also say the Warwickshire control room could shut at some point, leaving Hindlip as the one call base for both forces.

In terms of other cuts 11 police bases are to close completely, while either 19 or 20 additional sites will shut and be replaced by alternatives.

Councillor Richard Udall, who represents St John’s, said: “This is policing on the cheap - if these buildings weren’t needed they would never have been opened in the first place.

“It’s an open invitation to criminality.”

Councillor Jabba Riaz, the city council’s cabinet member for safer and stronger communities, said: “It's disappointing - that’s the most appropriate word I can use to describe it.”

In Worcester, the cuts include the shop front base in Cranham Drive, Warndon, which will be relocated to a yet-to-be-decided venue, and the office at the Guildhall will close completely.

Buildings in Droitwich, Pershore, Stourport and Tenbury Wells will relocate, while sites in Bewdley, Wythall and Broadway will shut completely.

The 24/7 999 call response service in Malvern will be handled from Worcester or Evesham.

Other community leaders say they are determined to strive for the best possible outcome despite the news.

Councillor Jo Hodges, who represents Warndon, said: “It’s disappointing because the Cranham Drive shop front is so centrally based - they need to find somewhere else which means they keep their presence.”

She said one good alternative could be relocating to the community centre.

Police and crime commissioner Bill Longmore was locked in meetings with Worcestershire’s MPs this afternoon spelling out the changes.

He has pledged to make sure the county still gets 24-hour-a-day protection, and that the visible police patrols will not change despite the closures.

“The measures we have put in place will protect the front line, and that is what is most important, having that presence,” he said.

Mr Walker said: “The patrols must stay as they are, that is a must.”

Mid-Worcestershire MP Peter Luff said he was personally confident Droitwich would come out of it ok.

He said: "I think they've given a lot of thought to this - my inclination is that it will not lead to a diminishing quality of service in Droitwich.

"I've been told the face-to-face service will be the same at the new location they find.

"Although I don't welcome the changes, I do think they've thought it through."

West Worcestershire MP Harriett Baldwin said she wanted response times to be "as least as fast as now" and has urged people to have their say.

Of the 19 or 20 sites up for relocation, some are functioning police stations while others are drop-in centres or offices closed to the public.

The plan is to find private or public sector partners to share facilities with.

As your Worcester News reported today, two public consultations will be taking place to get public feedback on it.

No sites set for relocation will close until alternatives are ready to open, and no firm dates are set in stone as of yet.

The closures will take place between now and 2015, aimed at saving £1.5 million.

Bosses say the saving is the equivalent of 30 constables or 50 PCSOs.

CALLS FOR HINDLIP HALL TO BE SOLD

CALLS are being made for the force to sell its plush Hindlip Hall HQ in a bid to avoid shutting down other buildings.

Councillor Peter McDonald, the leader of Worcestershire County Council’s Labour group, said he was “shocked” at the changes.

“Over the last few decades we have made leaps and bounds in policing and at the moment, it feels like we are taking a big step backwards,” he said.

“They’ve spent millions on Hindlip when in my view, the security of this county is far more important than any HQ.

“Some of that money could have been spent on the sharp end. It’s got to be sold off.”

Others said they would be against any review of the asset, which dates back to the 1820s and had more than £3 million spent on it in 2011 when a new access road was put in.

The venue serves as the strategic heart of the force and is home to vital functions like the dogs unit, CID, forensics and senior management.

Councillor Paul Middlebrough, leader of Wychavon District Council and chairman of the police and crime panel, said: “It’s a great economic benefit to Wychavon and I would not be in favour of any change there - I’d oppose any moves to not use it as the base.”

West Mercia Police say a sale of the site is not feasible given the costs and complexity of either breaking up the existing functions and housing them elsewhere, or moving it all to another location.

Mr Longmore said: "As part of our long term strategy, we will be looking at all aspects of the police estate in West Mercia, but there are no plans on the table at the moment regarding the future of Hindlip Hall."

A spokesman for West Mercia Police said: "Hindlip Park is a well developed site that houses a number of vital departments and services; around 950 officers and staff currently work there.  

"As well as a wide range of support, training and admin services, the site houses specialist teams including CID, force operations and the control room, all in purpose-built facilities.

"The use of Hindlip Park, along with all the force's properties, will continue to be reviewed to make sure it is providing the best value for money possible."

Comments (17)

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4:49pm Fri 22 Feb 13

skychip says...

Money could have been saved by not having a PCC and a deputy. This Government has a lot to answer for.
Money could have been saved by not having a PCC and a deputy. This Government has a lot to answer for. skychip

5:30pm Fri 22 Feb 13

b1ackb1rd says...

Once these police stations are gone, they are gone FOREVER ... With all the negative implications for community saftety and confidence (remember that?).
The family silver is in your custody ... It's not yours to sell, it belongs to the community!!
Once these police stations are gone, they are gone FOREVER ... With all the negative implications for community saftety and confidence (remember that?). The family silver is in your custody ... It's not yours to sell, it belongs to the community!! b1ackb1rd

5:32pm Fri 22 Feb 13

b1ackb1rd says...

And why sell Hindlip Hall?
West Midlands did this years ago with Lloyd House ... a decision that has been rued ever since.
And why sell Hindlip Hall? West Midlands did this years ago with Lloyd House ... a decision that has been rued ever since. b1ackb1rd

6:36pm Fri 22 Feb 13

Holowczak says...

Why would anyone want to sell Hindlip Hall? 10 Downing Street perhaps.....
Why would anyone want to sell Hindlip Hall? 10 Downing Street perhaps..... Holowczak

6:42pm Fri 22 Feb 13

DarrenM says...

? Lloyd House is still the West Midlands HQ according to their Website - but heres an idea, now they are merged with Warwickshire do we need 2 HQ's ? Leek Wooton could make a great hotel and conference centre.
? Lloyd House is still the West Midlands HQ according to their Website - but heres an idea, now they are merged with Warwickshire do we need 2 HQ's ? Leek Wooton could make a great hotel and conference centre. DarrenM

6:48pm Fri 22 Feb 13

chris4536 says...

They can not sell Hindlip as they have only just spent £? Millions on a grand new entrance.
They can not sell Hindlip as they have only just spent £? Millions on a grand new entrance. chris4536

8:51pm Fri 22 Feb 13

square1 says...

Peter Mcdonald appears to be as sharp as a butter knife, states that the HQ should be sold.. It houses the control room , dogs , forensic and much more you half wit. The cost of moving them would be astronomical no doubt.another person opening their mouth without doing the resource... Great councillor you are...
Peter Mcdonald appears to be as sharp as a butter knife, states that the HQ should be sold.. It houses the control room , dogs , forensic and much more you half wit. The cost of moving them would be astronomical no doubt.another person opening their mouth without doing the resource... Great councillor you are... square1

9:30pm Fri 22 Feb 13

Nathan Barley says...

£3 million was spent on an underused and largely pointless New driveway at Hindlip Hall

Twice the £1.5 mill they are now saving by closing 24/7 stations in the community.

Smart, real smart.
£3 million was spent on an underused and largely pointless New driveway at Hindlip Hall Twice the £1.5 mill they are now saving by closing 24/7 stations in the community. Smart, real smart. Nathan Barley

11:53pm Fri 22 Feb 13

Holowczak says...

Nathan. Perhaps if you understood the difference between capital expenditure and revenue expenditure you might understand that your " smart, real smart" comment is richly ironic....
Nathan. Perhaps if you understood the difference between capital expenditure and revenue expenditure you might understand that your " smart, real smart" comment is richly ironic.... Holowczak

12:28am Sat 23 Feb 13

pronstar says...

b1ackb1rd wrote: Once these police stations are gone, they are gone FOREVER ...


Yes but can you tell a Jag from an Aston?
[quote][p][bold]b1ackb1rd[/bold] wrote: Once these police stations are gone, they are gone FOREVER ... [/p][/quote] Yes but can you tell a Jag from an Aston? pronstar

8:47am Sat 23 Feb 13

DarrenM says...

Actually they do own almost all of the land that surrounds Hindlip up to the surrounding roads , they should be forced to sell that off for development before closing stations
Actually they do own almost all of the land that surrounds Hindlip up to the surrounding roads , they should be forced to sell that off for development before closing stations DarrenM

9:25am Sat 23 Feb 13

brooksider says...

DarrenM wrote:
Actually they do own almost all of the land that surrounds Hindlip up to the surrounding roads , they should be forced to sell that off for development before closing stations
They are doing this with Stennard Harrison's proposed 'Sports City'.
[quote][p][bold]DarrenM[/bold] wrote: Actually they do own almost all of the land that surrounds Hindlip up to the surrounding roads , they should be forced to sell that off for development before closing stations[/p][/quote]They are doing this with Stennard Harrison's proposed 'Sports City'. brooksider

9:48am Sat 23 Feb 13

FranOb says...

They should certainly look at selling off land around Hindlip for development. My worry in Kidderminster is the travel time from the main Police Station to Offmore, Comberton, Spennells and Chaddesley. When there is a jam on the ring road this can take 20 minutes.
All Kidderminster East Police Teams need to be based at Grasmere Close, in The Horsefair if Comberton closes!
They should certainly look at selling off land around Hindlip for development. My worry in Kidderminster is the travel time from the main Police Station to Offmore, Comberton, Spennells and Chaddesley. When there is a jam on the ring road this can take 20 minutes. All Kidderminster East Police Teams need to be based at Grasmere Close, in The Horsefair if Comberton closes! FranOb

3:46pm Sat 23 Feb 13

Raymond Delauney says...

DarrenM wrote:
? Lloyd House is still the West Midlands HQ according to their Website - but heres an idea, now they are merged with Warwickshire do we need 2 HQ's ? Leek Wooton could make a great hotel and conference centre.
Leek Wootton is for sale.
[quote][p][bold]DarrenM[/bold] wrote: ? Lloyd House is still the West Midlands HQ according to their Website - but heres an idea, now they are merged with Warwickshire do we need 2 HQ's ? Leek Wooton could make a great hotel and conference centre.[/p][/quote]Leek Wootton is for sale. Raymond Delauney

6:27pm Sat 23 Feb 13

b1ackb1rd says...

pronstar wrote:
b1ackb1rd wrote: Once these police stations are gone, they are gone FOREVER ...


Yes but can you tell a Jag from an Aston?
One's a tarted up Mondeo?
[quote][p][bold]pronstar[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]b1ackb1rd[/bold] wrote: Once these police stations are gone, they are gone FOREVER ... [/p][/quote] Yes but can you tell a Jag from an Aston?[/p][/quote]One's a tarted up Mondeo? b1ackb1rd

6:28pm Sat 23 Feb 13

b1ackb1rd says...

DarrenM wrote:
? Lloyd House is still the West Midlands HQ according to their Website - but heres an idea, now they are merged with Warwickshire do we need 2 HQ's ? Leek Wooton could make a great hotel and conference centre.
I understood it was sold back in Geoffrey Dear's time and has been rented at huge expense ever since ... Unless anyone can correct me on this?
[quote][p][bold]DarrenM[/bold] wrote: ? Lloyd House is still the West Midlands HQ according to their Website - but heres an idea, now they are merged with Warwickshire do we need 2 HQ's ? Leek Wooton could make a great hotel and conference centre.[/p][/quote]I understood it was sold back in Geoffrey Dear's time and has been rented at huge expense ever since ... Unless anyone can correct me on this? b1ackb1rd

12:28pm Sun 24 Feb 13

Nathan Barley says...

Holowczak wrote:
Nathan. Perhaps if you understood the difference between capital expenditure and revenue expenditure you might understand that your " smart, real smart" comment is richly ironic....
Regardless of capital or revenue, the point is that it's an unnecessary expenditure ill judged against the back drop of station closures.

I'm yet to see the outlay recouped through the supposed use of Hindlip as a conference centre.

Still, when I give you a slap for being smug i'll have made a good clean getaway in the 30 minutes the police will take to arrive from Evesham, Worcester or Ledbury.
[quote][p][bold]Holowczak[/bold] wrote: Nathan. Perhaps if you understood the difference between capital expenditure and revenue expenditure you might understand that your " smart, real smart" comment is richly ironic....[/p][/quote]Regardless of capital or revenue, the point is that it's an unnecessary expenditure ill judged against the back drop of station closures. I'm yet to see the outlay recouped through the supposed use of Hindlip as a conference centre. Still, when I give you a slap for being smug i'll have made a good clean getaway in the 30 minutes the police will take to arrive from Evesham, Worcester or Ledbury. Nathan Barley

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