Police base to close in cuts

MORPETH Police Station is set to close as part of a massive cost-cutting programme.

Northumbria Police has announced the move as it faces having to make £46million of savings by March 2017 through Government funding cuts.

The force will lose about 230 staff posts and 200 senior management and supervisory roles over the next three years, but the majority will be through natural turnover and 80 vacancies have already been identified.

The number of police officers on the beat will be maintained and there will be no increase in council tax for policing.

Morpeth is one of 25 police stations proposed for closure, but 13 of them, including Ponteland, are not open to the public.

The plan is to move officers into community bases, which could be shared with other services.

Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Vera Baird said: “The Government cuts are relentless and unfair. They impact far more heavily on our police service than on many others.

“The Chief Constable and I are very committed to maintaining the number of police officers and staff working in our neighbourhoods.

“To achieve this we need to do things differently, use technology more effectively and work from different buildings that are cheaper to run.

“We will relocate Neighbourhood Policing Teams to bases in the local community, usually shared with other services. We are currently doing this in North Tyneside where we are proposing to have police in the White Swan Centre at Killingworth following public consultation, rather than in an outdated, expensive to maintain police station in Forest Hall.

“We are keen to make further savings by relocating other Neighbourhood Policing Teams into the communities they serve as this is what local policing is all about.

“However, we guarantee that no police services will be relocated until we have found accessible bases within the community for neighbourhood teams to work from and they are working well.”

She added: “I am conscious that local people are feeling the effects of the economic downturn very acutely in our region. We have managed to protect frontline numbers and deliver the savings needed without the public having to pay more.”