Essex Police confirm station closures across the county

A Letchworth cyclist has told of his hit and run shock as police hunt the motorist.

A Letchworth cyclist has told of his hit and run shock as police hunt the motorist. - Credit: Archant

Essex Police has confirmed today (Tuesday. December 8) that 15 police station front counters across the county will close by April next year as the force seeks to modernise its estate.

Front counter posts at the stations will be also be reduced from 98 to 36 and staff who will be retained, deployed to other roles, or given notice of redundancy have already been informed.

Saffron Walden police station is one of 10 which will remain with a front counter from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday, while Great Dunmow will close to the public, as expected, from April, but the Chelmsford Road base will remain as an operational centre.

The Essex Police front counters which will remain open to the public from 9am to 5pm are; Grays, Basildon, Southend, Harlow, Chelmsford, Braintree, Colchester and Clacton (all Monday to Sunday) as well as Maldon and Saffron Walden (both Monday to Friday).

These front counters represented 80 per cent of all visits to Essex police stations during a two-month research study.

Operational policing bases, without front counters, will be kept in; Loughton, Brentwood, Canvey Island, Great Dunmow, Rayleigh and Harwich.

In light of the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement nearly two weeks ago, decisions on the future of 190 PCSOs in the county have been delayed until the new year.

Most Read

Chief Constable Stephen Kavanagh said: “I want to pay tribute to the commitment and professionalism of customer contact administrators before, throughout and since the consultation process, and thank those who may be leaving the organisation over the next few months for their service to Essex Police and the public in our county.

“The financial outlook might be slightly brighter than we thought in the autumn, but Essex Police still needs to change. We spend too much on too many police buildings, many of which are either no longer fit for policing or are hardly used by the public to report crime.

“I understand the views of people we’ve spoken to in the last few months who are worried that losing their police station will make them feel less safe, but the reality is the opposite is true: every expensive and outdated building which isn’t well-used by the public we keep open means fewer officers on patrol stopping crime and helping vulnerable people.”

Nick Alston, police and crime commissioner for Essex, said: “I have met and spoken with many customer contact administrators, and their professionalism has always shone through.

“It is always sad when dedicated colleagues face the risk of redundancy, but with Essex Police significantly reducing the number of police station front counters, a reduction in the number of customer contact administrator posts was, regrettably, the inevitable result.

“Extensive work is currently underway to ensure that the people of Essex will be able to contact their police force in more modern ways, whilst still preserving the option of telephone and face-to-face contact for those who prefer it.

“I welcome Essex Police’s decision to pause until early in 2016 the proposal to reduce the numbers of PCSOs, in light of the need to consider further information about the budget which will be provided by the government later this month.”