Uttlesford Food Bank seeks new home after UK police terror threat raised

Uttlesford Foodbank needs to find a new premises by next Friday, January 30.

Uttlesford Foodbank needs to find a new premises by next Friday, January 30. - Credit: Archant

The tightening of security measures in the face of a heightened terror alert for police officers has forced a foodbank to look for a new home.

Last week the threat level to UK police was raised to ‘severe’ – the highest level yet – and its impact is being felt close to home with Saffron Walden police station taking extra precautions.

The move follows the attack on the offices of Charlie Hebdo magazine in Paris which left 12 dead and sent shock waves across the world.

A foiled assault on officers in Belgium was then uncovered last week, when police uniforms and radios were recovered from raids following a shootout in the town of Verviers in which two men died. It is thought that the suspects were planning an attack on police.

The Uttlesford foodbank service has been temporarily housed in Saffron Walden police station for the last six months, but is now being asked to find a new base.

“We are tightening security, and have to review all security risk assessments in police premises,” said Sergeant Chris Sharp.

Until now, foodbank volunteers have been packing and dating goods in an otherwise unused building on the premises of the town’s police station, before delivering them to the Salvation Army on Abbey Lane, where they are distributed to those in need.

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It has now been decided that there are not sufficient security measures in place to let the foodbank remain and have unmanned volunteers access to the site.

“We are having to review our security measures,” said Sgt Sharp.

“I’m not saying we are going to be attacked. There’s no specific threat, it’s purely operational.

“At the moment we are on severe risk but no specific intelligence to say when that would happen,” he added.

Uttlesford foodbank coordinator Alan Hawkes is now appealing for a new space for the foodbank, which has helped 132 people in the district since being operational last July. Time is running out – they have to vacate the building by next Friday (January 30).

“This is a foodbank that exists in a prosperous town but there are people in need,” Mr Hawkes said.

“Our use of Saffron Walden police station was only ever meant to be temporary. They have been very generous putting up with our vehicles and we’re very grateful.”

He added: “We’re looking for a decent-sized room where we can stock our food. Running water and shelving is preferred, but not necessary.”

Mr Hawkes said the use of the room could be temporary, and possibly outside of Saffron Walden.

To propose a new space, email info@uttlesford.foodbank.org.uk