Uttlesford police stations set for the axe?

TWO police stations in Uttlesford have been put on a review list meaning that they could be closed down as cuts in front line services begin to bite.

Saffron Walden police station was earmarked for review but then quickly taken off the list after it was agreed to sell off the PCSO base in the two houses next door to raise vital funds.

However Stansted police station has been recommended for closure by the chairman of the police authority Robert Chambers.

He told the Reporter: “The question is do we really need a police station in Stansted. There would be no decrease in services as the station there is not open very much. It seems to be a bit of a waste of space.

“We could look into involving police at the airport and using the station there instead.”

He added: “Saffron Walden will not be closing anytime soon – in fact we are looking at ways to merge the fire station and the police station in a brand new facility – possibly on the edge of town.

“But at the moment we will move the PSCOs into the main building to maximise its use and sell off the houses to raise funds.”

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Cuts across the county’s police force are expected and chief constable Jim Barker-McCardle revealed that they might be as high as 25 per cent.

He indicated that the force would have to reduce the amount of serving officers and also look at ways of closing police stations or work them into partnerships.

Using Tiptree has a prime example, where firefighters and police officers share the same building, he said: “We are facing a challenge of how we potentially cut out �45million whilst still delivering high quality services to the people of Essex.

“We need to create a smaller, more productive and more available police force and move into a cheaper and more effective world. This is a world where every penny counts.”

The news on Stansted’s station was met with criticism from the town’s parish council chairman Geoffrey Sell although he added it “was not yet a done deal.”

“Under no circumstances should the village policing come from Stansted Airport,” he said. “Residents pay thousands per annum towards the cost of Essex policing and expect to get an effective service.

“Although our station is open relatively few hours per week it is essential to maintain a police base in the village as we need it for our officers to respond quickly.

“The authority is anticipating significant cuts in public spending and whilst officers may no longer be based at the station as it is now, we do not want to see is a reduction of the police presence.”

The shakeup was due to be debated at a parish council meeting on Wednesday night and it is believed that the parish will formulate an official response before the review is finished at the end of October.

SHOULD police stations close or become shared with other facilities? E-mail us at editor@saffronwalden-reporter.co.uk