A MAJOR new police hub will be built in Portsmouth as a plan to move hundreds of officers out of the city is axed.
Simon Hayes, Hampshire’s police and crime commissioner, has dropped a possible move to Havant as it would be £8m over budget.
I recognise it’s caused uncertainty both for police officers and staff working in the organisation and rumours in the community and both those I wouldn’t wantSimon Hayes
Instead, a new site in the north of Portsmouth has been chosen for the £18m hub.
It will have 36 custody cells and four floors of offices housing detectives and investigators from the city, Havant, Fareham and Gosport CID.
But the move – which could take up to three years – will see Fratton, Southsea and Portsmouth Central stations close completely.
Speaking to The News, Mr Hayes said: ‘I hope that now we’re settling where we’re going to go in the city.
‘I recognise it’s caused uncertainty both for police officers and staff working in the organisation and rumours in the community and both those I wouldn’t want.’
Mr Hayes’ staff had looked at 32 possible sites and whittled that down to 11 before negotiating on just five.
But last month The News revealed Broadmarsh industrial estate, off Harts Farm Way, in Havant was being considered instead.
Now a city site, which was not named but was one of the five, is being reconsidered.
If the purchase and planning for that fails, Fratton station, in Kingston Road, and Portsmouth Central, in Winston Churchill Avenue, will be refurbished instead.
Southsea station, in Highland Road, will close with neighbourhood officers moving into Southsea fire station.
Flick Drummond, Portsmouth South MP, said: ‘That’s good because there’s no doubt we definitely need a police presence in the city.
‘We need custody in the city as well. Visible policing is very important.’
Donna Jones, leader of Portsmouth City Council, added she had ‘grave concerns’ about the site in Havant.
Councillor Jones said: ‘There are going to be three hubs, including one in Basingstoke and one in Southampton.
‘With 45 per cent of crime in Hampshire coming from two of the cities, it’s really important that the third hub is in the city of Portsmouth, not on the outskirts.’
A campaign to save Portsmouth Central station run by Stephen Morgan, Labour candidate for Charles Dickens ward, secured 400 signatories.
Mr Morgan said: ‘It is clear that local people want the dedicated service at the central police station to stay open and aren’t happy at the prospect of some neighbourhood provision moving.’
A district commander, neighbourhood police and response teams will move to the civic offices in Guildhall Square by October. That site will have a dedicated entrance.
Mr Hayes said the Havant site cost too much, was not local enough, would have been too technically complex and that he’d listened to concerns about noise and traffic.