New local bases for Tandridge police
Friday, 18 February 2011 09:08
Police in Tandridge on the move as work continues to protect frontline numbers
NEIGHBOURHOOD Teams at Lingfield and Oxted are to have new local bases as Surrey Police continues its change programme to prevent cuts to frontline officers.
Surrey Police remains committed to the target of recruiting an additional 200 police constables with almost 100 added in the last year and plans for 100 more by 2012.
To meet this target and reduce the budget deficit, a series of change programmes have been taking place within the force including cuts to the number of senior leaders and non-operational staff, and a review of police buildings.
The review found that many of Surrey’s smaller police stations are old, expensive to maintain and little used by members of the public. A survey conducted by the Surrey Police Authority early last year also found that less than a quarter of respondents believed keeping local stations was more important than maintaining frontline officer numbers.
Proposals to find alternative bases for neighbourhood teams within local communities and share buildings with partner organisations have now been presented to the Surrey Police Authority and are being implemented to reduce the budget deficit and invest in more police constables on the streets.
In Tandridge part of the team currently based at Lingfield Police Station will move to a new police post at the Lingfield and Dormansland Community Centre at the beginning of March. The police building is being put on the market by the Surrey Police Authority but no sale will complete until teams have their new local bases.
Plans are also underway to establish a new base for officers in Oxted later in the year. Oxted Police Station receives an average of just six visitors per day and a decision has been taken to stop front counter services at the station from the end of March but officers will remain in the building until a new local base has been found.
Front counter services at main stations in Caterham and Reigate will continue. The force remains keen to retain Caterham Police Station and share parts of the building with partner organisations to reduce costs.
Tandridge Neighbourhood Inspector Elaine Burtenshaw said: “Tandridge is a large area and I want to reassure people that this is not about removing officers from our streets. Local teams will continue to patrol the same places, surgeries and panel meetings will still take place as they do now and we will retain local bases in communities.
“It is also important that people are clear this does not affect emergency response teams which are separate from neighbourhood teams. They remain on patrol 24-hours-a-day and will continue to operate as normal.
“By finding alternatives for the neighbourhood teams at Oxted and Lingfield we can still keep them in local bases and invest in more police constables for the whole district. Tandridge will benefit from an additional three constables to add to the district’s Neighbourhood Support Team.
“The main change is to front counter services which remain available at Caterham Police Station. The force is also looking to introduce a mobile front counter service later this year which will serve communities who have never had local facilities before.
“We will be updating people at our regular panel meetings and displaying information at stations in the area but you can also visit the Surrey Police website at www.surrey.police.uk or call us on 0845 125 2222.”
Following a force-wide review of police buildings last year there are plans to make changes in each borough and district.
Chief Constable Mark Rowley said: “If we are to meet the challenge of dealing with drastic financial cuts against a backdrop of rising crime during a recession we have to make tough decisions.
“While many other forces are cutting the number of frontline police officers I am determined not to do this in Surrey and have launched a series of change programmes to tackle the demands we face.
"Already we have made cuts to the number of senior leaders and back-office staff in a bid to balance our books and strengthen the frontline. We are also in a position where some of our buildings no longer meet the needs of modern policing. By sharing premises with local authorities and moving into cheaper alternatives we can save costs and help to reach our target of increasing the number of officers on the streets by up to 200.
“More frontline police is what the public consistently tell us they want to see and these officers will work not just in neighbourhood teams across the county but in key crime areas such as sexual offences and cross-border crime - tackling the threats posed by criminals who see Surrey as a prime target.
"This is about increasing the number of local officers not removing them. Surrey has the highest level of public confidence and we have worked hard to reduce levels of serious violent and serious acquisitive crime. Investing in the frontline is vital if we are to continue to achieve this.”
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