• Mon. Jun 24th, 2024

North East Connected

Hopping Across The North East From Hub To Hub

Screen Shot 2016-04-18 at 10.40.45Sultan Alam, the independent candidate for Cleveland Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) has stated Cleveland Police should be ‘opening its doors’ to the public, ‘not closing them’ in response to the fact that nine police stations in Cleveland will now close.

The closures will mean only four police stations, Hartlepool, Middlesbrough, Kirkleatham, and Stockton, will be accessible to the public in the entire Cleveland area covering 230 square miles and 560,000 people.

Residents of Redcar and Cleveland will see six stations close inside its boundary close, despite the current Commissioner, Barry Coppinger promising to ‘retain and develop neighbourhood policing’ in 2012.

Eston, Guisborough, Loftus, Redcar, Satlburn and Southbank will all close and residents will have to travel to Kirkleatham to visit a police station.

The decision to close the police stations has been described as ‘wrong’ by Mr Alam, who was speaking outside Eston police station.

Mr Alam said: “The Police service should be accessible to the public. It is after all, a public service. The decision to close so many stations goes against what British policing is all about.

“An accessible police station is a vital part of our community fabric. In the first instance, it provides a deterrent for crime and just as importantly if not more so, it provides reassurance for members of the public, that when in need, they can visit.

“Many people cannot drive and a bus journey would take over an hour from Loftus to Kirkleatham. We should not expect our citizens, especially those who are elderly or vulnerable to travel this distance to visit a police station.

“The decision to close so many stations is a strange one, especially when there will still be police officers active within the buildings, but locked away from the public.”

Mr Alam has said savings could be made to keep more police stations open and has blamed poor management and expenditure as the root of the problem.

In the latest report on Cleveland Police, by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary, it identified efficiency as ‘requires improvement’ and stated that future plans beyond 2016 are projecting a budget deficit.

HMIC has identified that police officer strength has been cut by 23 percent and as a result there is little capacity to undertake pro-active policing work in order to reduce crime and anti-social behaviour.

The closure of nine police stations will only lead to an increased disconnection between the public and Cleveland Police according to Mr Alam, adding: “I believe every effort should be made to increase and strengthen direct links with the public. We should be reaching out to our communities, not closing the doors on them.”

Sultan Alam has promised to ensure as many stations remain open, if he is elected as PCC on May 5.

According to Mr Alam, money can be saved on bureaucracy and spent on front line services, highlighting the £850,000 spent by the current commissioner on running his office and not duplicating staff roles that exist in the Chief Constables office.

For further information on Sultan Alam please visit www.sultanalam.co.uk or visiting his Facebook page: Sultan Alam For PCC.

By admin