Police officers based in the threatened Mansfield Woodhouse police station could move into premises on the town’s Market Place, police chiefs have revealed.
At a consultation meeting held at the Turner Community Hall this morning (Saturday 7th December), Nottinghamshire Police and Crime Commissioner Paddy Tipping said that the force has been talking to Mansfield District Council about the possibility of taking over the lease of a vacant property - number 2.
Mr Tipping said that although no decision on whether to close the £1.3m purpose-built police station has yet been made, moving into the rented offices would save Nottinghamshire Police around £40,000 a year and keep the local beat team local.
“Whatever happens, the police are not going to withdraw from Mansfield Woodhouse,” he said.
Mr Tipping told the meeting that Nottinghamshire Police needs to save £42m over the next four years - around 20 per cent of its budget.
He said he wants to protect frontline policing and so is looking at ‘slimming down’ the force’s property portfolio, with the aim of saving £2.4m in this area.
Chief Supt Ak Khan, the county divisional commander, also spoke at the consultation meeting.
Taking about the cuts, which he called ‘unprecedented’, he said: “If we didn’t look at the buildings, if we didn’t look at the fleet, we would be looking at a huge loss of police officers and the Commissioner has made it clear to us that the priority is to keep the police officers, to keep the service going.”
Chief Supt Khan said that the decision to build the police station in 2007 was made ‘in a different world’.
“If we knew then what we know now, there would have been lots of um-ing and ah-ing about whether we could afford it,” he told the meeting,
The main issue with moving to the Market Place premises would be the location of the response team.
Mansfield North Neighbourhood Police Inspector Mark Webster explained that the vehicles would patrol around the area, visiting problem hotspots and ensuring residents can see there is a visible police presence.
New technology such as tablet computers would mean that response officers could work remotely instead of needing to keep returning to an office.
Though Insp Webster made it clear that he was not happy about the proposals to close Mansfield Woodhouse police station, he reiterated that given the cuts that need to be made, the important thing is to keep the beat team in the town, which the Market Place premises would allow.
“I can absolutely guarantee you that by moving into that building, the service will not be any worse,” he said.
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