Petition is launched to save Portsmouth police station

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A PETITION has been launched urging police to keep Portsmouth Central police station open.

Stephen Morgan, Labour candidate for Charles Dickens ward at the forthcoming city council elections, started the petition.

So far 71 people have signed it, lobbying Hampshire’s police and crime commissioner Simon Hayes.

The station is under threat as Mr Hayes plans to open a police investigation centre to replace the Winston Churchill Avenue base and Fratton station.

His office is looking at a site in Havant, which could mean Portsmouth is left without a police station if Southsea also closes.

Response and neighbourhood officers, along with Portsmouth’s district commander, would be based in Guildhall.

Mr Morgan said: ‘These changes will have a huge impact on police visibility in our communities, the feelings of safety and security in our city and the ability of residents to report crime and disorder face-to-face.

‘This is another example of public service cuts in the city going too far, too fast.’

Hampshire police’s estate is controlled by the crime commissioner.

Concerns have also now been raised by Dr Michael Bennett, Labour’s candidate in the May elections for Hampshire Police and Crime Commissioner, who has also backed the campaign.

Dr Bennett said: ‘This community campaign isn’t scaremongering. It is a poorly thought-through plan which needs better communication and engagement with the very people who access essential police services. Where is the feedback from victims and vulnerable groups in society? People are getting fed up with cut after cut taking away their local services. We need a police presence on our streets and we need a police station to be the focus of that police presence.

‘There is an increase in violent crime in Portsmouth and yet people are unaware of plans to close police stations. By alerting local people, Stephen and the team have provided a real public service. There has been a failure in consultation; Portsmouth needs to know the plans and discuss alternatives.’