Stansted police station to close within six months

STANSTED’S police station is to be closed in the next six months, parish councillors have been told.

county for closure.

And Essex Police Authority chairman Robert Chambers told Stansted Mountfitchet Parish Council members last week that it is “difficult to defend Stansted police station as it is open for a very short amount of time”. The station is currently open 11 hours per week.

However, the decision has not been met favourably by officials, with parish council chairman Cllr Geoffrey Sell expressing his concerns over the short timescale for closure.

He said: “The clinic will not move out of Crafton Green until the new health centre is built – this is unlikely to be before the autumn of 2012. We could therefore be looking at least a year’s interim where the police will not have a permanent base in the village.

“I am convinced that the Police Authority needs to defer its decision to close the police station until we can make proper permanent arrangements to house our valued officers.”

Even more concerning for the council was Mr Chambers’ admission that, because of the low crime rates in Uttlesford, and because it is a rural area, the police presence is expected to be significantly reduced.

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Stansted is served by one police constable and two community support officers. Another PCSO serves the surrounding villages.

As a temporary solution, Cllr Chambers has offered Stansted a mobile police unit that will be based in the car park at Crafton Green. Yet Cllr Sell is adamant that the council wants to secure a permanent base for officers in the centre of the village.

“Stansted is very reliant on two police community support officers, one of whom the parish council pays 50 per cent of the costs,” he said.

“Where will our officers be based when the mobile police station is not in Crafton Green? I am concerned about the response times of our officers. If they are based on some days outside the village this can only lessen their effectiveness.”

However, there could yet be a positive outcome; Cllr Sell pointed out that the police station closure could open the door for Stansted to have a one-stop-shop for residents where they have all public services under one roof.

“It is my vision that Crafton Green can provide a site for public services within the village. As well as the police, I would like it to become a one-stop shop where the public can access Uttlesford District Council services.

“It could also house the Citizens Advice Bureau,” he said.