POLICE and crime commissioner Bill Longmore is being pressed to change his mind over a controversial cull of buildings.
Councillor Jabba Riaz, who sits on the watchdog-style police and crime panel, has issued a rallying call for Worcester people to get out and “have their say” before it’s too late.
Mr Longmore wants to close the police shop front base in Cranham Drive, Warndon, and shut an office at the Guildhall as part of a force-wide plan to save cash.
Police chiefs want to save £1.5 million by 2015 by reducing the number of buildings in operation. The closure of the Guildhall office will reduce spending by £18,000 a year alone. West Mercia Police says it will open up a new force base elsewhere in Warndon, leading to fears the new location might not be as central.
The other change in Worcester will be closure of a building in Spetchley Road, near County Hall.
Coun Riaz, who is also the city council’s cabinet member for safer and stronger communities, said: “I am disappointed at the changes he is making, particularly Warndon.
“I do know Bill Longmore says police will remain in Warndon, which is vital because the area needs a strong, visible presence. It’s vital residents make their views known. When he was consulting over the police precept (the council tax bill) lots of people backed a freeze, and that’s what he did, so he did listen to people with that.”
Mr Longmore’s plan includes complete closure of 11 bases across West Mercia Police, and the relocation of up to another 20. Some are fully functioning police stations, while others are used as administration offices or drop-in centres.
Mr Longmore said: “I think most people would agree it is more of a priority to have officers on the beat rather than paying for the upkeep of lots of police stations.”
A consultation is taking place at Worcester’s Whitehouse hotel on Tuesday, March 5, from 1pm. People can e-mail opcc@ westmercia.pnn.police.uk.