‘Review needed into closure of police stations’

Cheltenham Road. Picture: Google Maps

Man, 27, arrested after house burglary investigation

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CALLS have been made to review the decision to axe front desks at police stations.

It comes after a teenager was viciously assaulted by two men outside Fratton Police Station, in Kingston Crescent, Portsmouth, on Friday, and no-one was available to help.

Hampshire Constabulary axed front counter services at Fratton and Cosham stations in 2012 in a bid to save money.

It means there is just one station left in the city with a front counter – Portsmouth Central, in Winston Churchill Avenue.

Councillor Rob New, cabinet member for environment and community safety, said something had to be done.

‘We can’t do away with a front line service and that incident was a prime example of how people rely on going into a police station,’ he said.

‘The police should be reviewing their decision, in what form that will take I don’t know.’

John Apter, chairman of Hampshire Police Federation, has warned that re-opening front desks could result in more redundancies within the force.

Hampshire police has already lost more than 1,000 officers and staff due to government spending cuts and faces losing 535 more as it battles to save another £25m by April 2017.

He said: ‘I would rather keep police officer boots on the ground.

‘We have already lost several hundred officers over the past few years and we are set to lose up to 500 more over the next three to four years.

‘We are not in an ideal situation financially and that is why tough decisions have to be made.

‘The reality is police stations are just buildings, they are places where officers go and collect their kit before going out on duty.’

Police and crime commissioner Simon Hayes ordered the force’s review of its estates after being elected in November 2012.

The aim is to reduce running costs by £3m a year. Mr Hayes hopes to develop a police investigation centre in Portsmouth.