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Cop shop facing closure as police cuts bite in Hagley
1:00pm Thursday 28th February 2013 in News
CUTS look set to force the closure of Hagley Police Station despite a quarter-of-a-million pound revamp and promises of a secure future.
West Mercia Police chiefs say the Kidderminster Road station needs to go as part of a package to save £20m.
The force made major improvements to the station in 2008 to make it compliant with Disability Discrimination Act.
The work cost a sum believed to be around £275,000, although at the time of going to press police were unable to give the exact figure, and as recently as last December superintendent Kevin Purcell told Clent and Hagley parish councillors there were no immediate plans to shut the site.
However just two months later his boss, chief constable David Shaw, named Hagley among sites which will close if the force's commissioner gives the go-ahead after a consultation which runs until the end of March.
Chief constable Shaw said: "Our estate will be smaller in the future and this will release money to pay for our workforce and other resources that deliver protection.
“Response times will remain at the excellent level they currently are and we will also be moving towards officers using increased mobile technology."
There has been a cop shop in Hagley since 1839, top officers now plan to replace it with a community police post.
Hagley Parish Council chairman Steve Colella says spending on the station was a mistake, but he is more relaxed about closure.
He said: "The refurbishment and the expenditure on the police station was ill-judged and it has transpired to be a waste of money but obviously police budgets have been slashed significantly since and in hindsight the monies would have been better spent on front line services.
"Hagley Parish Council regularly receives complaints that getting access to the station is difficult because of its location and because when the station isn’t manned the only way to contact an officer is via the access telephone.
"I would welcome the opportunity to discuss having the policing team report out of the parish council offices in Worcester Road."
Hagley businesswoman and Clent parish councillor Caroline Howard said: "We are disappointed that the station in Hagley is closing, especially with regard to the planned substantial increase in population.
"We understand the police are in a very difficult financial situation and changes have to be made to make better use of the funding available."
West Mercia's police and crime commissioner Bill Longmore said: "I think most people would agree that it is more of a priority to have officers on the beat rather than paying for the upkeep of lots of police stations.
"Having said all that, I do appreciate that people value their local police station so we will be carefully considering all the factors before any decisions are made."
For more information, including details of a public meeting in Worcester on Tuesday March 5, visit www.westmercia-pcc.gov.uk Supt Purcell will be at the annual parish meeting at Hagley Community Centre on Monday March 25, when members of the public would be able to have their say.