GOSPORT police station will shut next year with officers moving to council offices – but an inspector has said the force is committed to the town.
The station in South Street will close around June but the neighbourhood team – an inspector, three sergeants, 15 PCSOs and 15 PCs – will stay in Gosport.
Officers will move the short distance to the town hall in High Street, with purpose-installed interview rooms.
Inspector Clare Jenkins, in charge of safer neighbourhood team in Gosport, said: ‘At the moment we’re scheduled to move out in the middle of next year.
‘If anything I think that will improve our visibility as our front office isn’t open every day here. I hope people will find us more approachable.’
Insp Jenkins added the June move could change as the station can function.
She added to reassure people in the town the move will not affect policing.
‘I would expect the residents of Gosport to have the same levels of visibility on their neighbourhood that they have now,’ Insp Jenkins added.
‘Our response and patrol teams are still down here and conducting their day-to-day visible patrols as well.’
Response teams have also been handed tablet devices linking them to neighbourhood team’s intelligence.
As previously reported in The News, Hampshire Constabulary is carrying out a force-wide estates review to cut down on costs.
Under current plans response officers and targeted patrol teams would be based at Fareham Reach on Fareham Road, Gosport. A Police Investigation Centre is set to be built in Portsmouth.
Mark Hook, leader of Gosport Borough Council, said the date has changed several times for the move-in.
Cllr Hook said: ‘We’re going to make space available for them on the ground floor so they can stay in town, which we believe is extremely important.
‘The date keeps moving – but it’s towards the end of next year.
‘It’s important the police retain a presence in Gosport.’
Cllr Hook said the finer detail is still being worked out.
No plans have been revealed for the South Street police station building.
Liberal Democrat opposition leader Peter Chegwyn said: ‘For a town of 80,000 people not to have a full police station is stark raving bonkers.’
Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage said: ‘It’s regrettable but in these times where budgets are tight it seems the most sensible way to keep the service levels we need and have a robust front desk service without the overheads.’