Hope for Portsmouth Central police station as officers announce 'review' into estates strategy
CALLS have been made to save a police station in Portsmouth city centre that is set for the axe – because more officers are being recruited.
Senior ranks at Hampshire police are reviewing their overall strategy for stations county-wide as they plan for 456 extra officers.
Portsmouth Central, in Winston Churchill Avenue, has been earmarked for closure, along with Fratton station in Kingston Crescent, which has closed.
Portsmouth Central’s cells closed when the police investigation centre off Airport Service Road opened last summer.
It comes after a push to sell police stations to fund the force during austere times, and pay for new hub-type buildings in Portsmouth and Basingstoke.
But now Portsmouth Central, which is still used by officers, could be saved if deemed operationally needed.
As reported in The News, chief constable Olivia Pinkney’s force has been told by the Home Office it will receive 156 officers in a 20,000 nationwide uplift. The force hopes for another 300 in the next two years.
A report for the Hampshire police and crime panel, due to meet in Andover on February 7, said: ‘The estate continues to be modernised in order to provide fit for purpose accommodation.
‘The announcement of the officer uplift will require a review of the current estate strategy both because of the additional personnel and to take into account any change in operational strategy.’
Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan told The News: ‘I have long argued for the need to keep a police station in the heart of Portsmouth for victims to report crimes face to face and for the police to do their job effectively.
‘I have been lobbying for this since 2015 when I launched a petition to get the police and crime commissioner to think again.
‘Our constabulary has lost over 1,000 police officers since 2010 and the new staffing commitments are nothing more than a drop in the ocean.
‘I raised concerns again when I met with the district commander only a few days ago and believe it is vital a city centre base is retained.’