Plans for a short-term police station in Leighton Buzzard have been confirmed this morning.
Two weeks ago LBO revealed that Beds Police and Crime Commissioner Olly Martins was looking at plans to close the current station on Hockliffe Road, moving officers to a cheaper and more centrally located base.
Mr Martins has now confirmed this intention with the publishing of his five-year estates strategy, created to secure a 6% reduction of estates spending which currently stands at £3m a year.
Plans for the town include the intention to create a new base that would also be used by Central Bedfordshire Council, though this will now not be possible to deliver before “the end of the period envisaged for this estates strategy.”
The current station has annual costs of £83k and is used at just 10% of its capacity, making it necessary for the force to move to a smaller base.
Mr Martins said: “We’ve done our homework and it’s abundantly clear that the public would rather protect visible frontline policing than save redundant and underused police buildings.
“Footfall data shows that beyond the three busier urban stations in Bedford, Dunstable and Luton, front desks at other stations are visited by an average of just four callers per day, the vast majority of which for routine matters that could have been managed by other means.
Chief Constable Colette Paul added: “The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner and Bedfordshire Police have worked extremely hard developing this strategy. It achieves the difficult balance of helping to maintain front-line policing while protecting those areas of estate that we know are important to us and the communities we serve. We are trying to ensure our police presence is in the right place to meet demand and offers best value for money.
“We will of course be consulting and updating our staff and partners as we move forward with this five-year plan.”