Police stations facing the axe in cost-cutting

POLICE stations are facing closure as part of cost-cutting measures to save £20 million.

Lincolnshire Police chief constable Richard Crompton was forced to admit the plans after stories in the national news about station closures in other parts of the country led to speculation about the future of Lincolnshire’s police stations.

The stations most likely to be hit are smaller ones such as Market Rasen, Caisor and Horncastle which are not open to the public all the time.

Bigger police stations like Louth, Sleaford, Boston and Skegness which have regularly staffed enquiry desks are unlikely to be affected but are still being assessed as part of the review.

National spending cuts on policing mean the force has to save about £20 million over the next four-years – about 15 per cent of its budget. This means 70 police officer jobs will be lost in the first year alone and about 60 police support staff will lose their jobs.

In a statement released to the media chief constable Crompton said: “Our main priority is to retain our police officer numbers so we are looking at all our budgets and spending, and this includes our buildings.

“The Police Authority are considering plans for managing our buildings and assets, but no definite decisions concerning changes have yet been made.

“The force and the Police Authority recognise the importance of local accessibility and if a police station was to close or be put forward for possible closure, it would do so only after a period of public consultation and then only once a viable alternative point of access was in place, such as a local library, post office or supermarket.”

A review is under way and a decision on any closures is likely to be made late this year or early next year.

Chief Constable Crompton said Lincolnshire Police was looking at all aspects of its spending and funding and pointed out a saving of £1 million would protect 20 officer jobs

He said: “The most important thing is to keep police officer numbers up and ensure they are accessible to the public. In this day and age we have to look at exactly how people contact us. The vast majority get in touch via the telephone or a computer.

“Our continuing priority is to ensure that our police officers and staff remain accessible and visible within our local communities.”