IT WAS greeted with cynicism initially, but it looks as if a police team’s move to a library is a win-win.
Just behind the bookshelves, the Hayling Island Safer Neighbourhood Team are hard at work.
But I think as people come in and realise that we’re still very much in the heart of the community, and in some respects better positioned.Insp Dave Humphries
It is a month since they moved from the former police house in South Road to the back of the library in Elm Grove.
Police and Crime Commissioner Simon Hayes pushed for the changes and over the past two years police teams in outdated buildings have moved into shared offices across the county.
Yesterday he visited Hayling and praised the transition.
He said: ‘Hampshire and Isle of Wight Constabulary is going through a very difficult time financially.
‘We have had our budget cut by almost 40 per cent over six years and we’re expecting more.
‘In order to deliver policing in a way police officers and staff want to deliver it we have got to look at the changing face of policing.
‘We looked at the estate and how we could maintain neighbourhood policing without wasting money.’
He added: ‘Some buildings were slightly out of where communities had grown.
‘In some cases by renting space from local authorities and the fire service we’ve enabled that public service to continue to be delivered within the community as well.’
Moving to the library, with their own entrance, means more space, better facilities and better IT connections.
Staff numbers remain the same with a sergeant, four police officers and two PCSOs.
As with the last station the public must make an appointment to see officers, but interviewing facilities are better at the library. It also halves costs for the library service. And thanks to Hampshire County Councillor Frank Pearce, the blue police lamp has been moved to the library.
Inspector Dave Humphries, who is in charge of Hayling and Waterlooville, said: ‘We’ve been here about a month now and it’s a much more modern facility than the old station.
‘I get that the community had a strong emotional attachment to the previous building and they were very upset to see us moving out.
‘But I think as people come in they realise that we’re still very much in the heart of the community and, in some respects, better positioned. When you take all the money-saving and cuts out of the equation, this is a far better office for us.’