Police stations axed in cost-cutting scheme

Merseyside Police and Crime Commissioner Jane Kennedy (right) with Area Commander Julie Cooke and police and library staff outside Moss Bank Community Police Station
Merseyside Police and Crime Commissioner Jane Kennedy (right) with Area Commander Julie Cooke and police and library staff outside Moss Bank Community Police Station
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Three borough police stations are set to be axed by force chiefs and replaced with bases at libraries and community centres.

Merseyside’s Police and Crime Commissioner Jane Kennedy wants to sell Newton, Thatto Heath and Sutton police stations in favour of new co-located community police stations - typically in the same buildings as housing associations, community centres or libraries.

Crucially, however, she vowed that a police presence would be retained in every corner of St Helens.

Mrs Kennedy said: “The Newton-le-Willows Police Station building is currently 60 per cent under-occupied - that’s why we want to create a new one somewhere else in the town centre.

“We plan to speak to the council to help identify sites but we also need to speak to the public about this. It’s all part of a 10-year plan.”

Ms Kennedy described St Helens - which already has community police stations in Moss Bank, Clock Face and Parr - as “a blueprint” for the rest of Merseyside.

She said community police stations had already proved a “huge success” in St Helens - helping to cut anti-social behaviour and boost relationships with the public.

Mrs Kennedy said the measures would ultimately save £2.5m a year and help protect frontline jobs.

She added: “These are hard times but I am committed to providing accessible and visible policing for every community. I want to invest in modern police stations and save money too.

“Austerity has forced us to review every aspect of the police estate. Merseyside Police has been hit harder than most.

“We simply cannot lose so many people without also looking at the buildings and facilities they use. These are the right steps to take and this is the right time to take them.”

St Helens’ area commander, Julie Cooke, said: “Police in St Helens are already co-located with Helena at three locations.

“We’ve found it can make us more approachable.

“All community police stations will be manned by police officers and PCSOs - it works really well and helps us to deal with low-level crime and anti-social behaviour in particular.”

A huge cash injection of around £130m was also unveiled would be used to transform remaining police stations across the region. The new proposals are all part of a £130m investment aimed at transforming police stations across the region, including disposing of dated stations which are deemed no longer fit for purpose.

A new serious and organised crime centre is also set to be created in Speke.