Southsea library could be used as police base

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POLICE are considering plans to set up a base at Southsea’s new library.

Hampshire Constabulary and Portsmouth City Council are discussing whether the force – which is set to leave its Southsea headquarters in Highland Road – could instead base community officers at the new Southsea Library in Palmerston Road.

The library opened in the summer, and council leader Gerald Vernon-Jackson said there would be space for an office and public meeting point for six community officers on its second floor.

He said: ‘There’s some distance to go, but we have had two positive meetings with the force so far. Financial matters would need to be sorted, but we have space in a central Southsea location and in many ways it would be ideal.’

The force must close 18 buildings – almost half of the 39 in its Hampshire and Isle of Wight estate – in a bid to save £50m.

Discussions have been under way to find a new Southsea base for the community officers, though there would be no cells in the area.

Possible locations have also included Eastney Community Centre on Eastney Road.

Tory Cllr Luke Stubbs originally suggested using the library.

He said: ‘We need a base in Southsea for police, and this seems ideal as it’s central and an easy place for the public to see and get to. It would be a good place for the police and the community.’

John Apter, chairman of Hampshire Police Federation, said: ‘It’s a shame we’re in a position where we have to make moves like this, but finances mean we must.

‘We are looking at locations, and weighing up the pros and cons of each. The library is one I know there’s some interest in.’