Changes have been unveiled to the police buildings owned by Sussex Police.
A five-year shake-up was announced this week after a review of more than 100 buildings belonging to the force.
Sussex’s police and crime commissioner Katy Bourne and Chief Constable Martin Richards unveiled their plans on Tuesday, June 25, saying the changes - to be brought in by 2018 - will improve the accessibility and visibility of neighbourhood policing.
“In the 21st century people access police services in many different ways and so we are looking to reduce the number of out-dated and expensive police stations. We will replace them with community hubs and public contact points where a number of public services can be accessed in one location. It is about putting policing back at the heart of the community,” said Mrs Bourne.
“The five-year plan is about making the best use of our resources and ensuring we have buildings that maximise the use of technology and are easily accessible for the public. This may well mean investing in certain parts of the estate to ensure we fulfil the needs of the public.”
By 2018, in a bid to save £50m, there will be the following types of buildings where people can speak face-to-face with their neighbourhood policing teams:
- Police stations, where people can expect to find a front counter service. Neighbourhood policing teams will be based here alongside other operational units.
- Public contact points, where people can expect to find the same front counter service as a police station, but most likely alongside partner organisations such as the local authority. It is likely the neighbourhood policing teams will be based here.
- Community hubs, where people can expect to find their neighbourhood policing team for part of the day to drop in, or can arrange to make an appointment. This will most likely be a space shared with partner agencies.
Additionally there will be operational policing bases, which are bases for multiple operational teams, and neighbourhood policing bases, where the neighbourhood policing teams will be based without other operational police units.
Ch Const Richards said the force needed to ‘keep pace’ with our changing times.
“Increasingly people want to report crime and access other services online, which they can now do on our website, but we know this won’t work for everyone. Many people are attached to our traditional police stations, but they’re often not convenient for people to get to. People have told us they want to see more of their Neighbourhood Policing Team out in their community and to be able to talk to them at a convenient location, rather than having to travel to a police station and waiting to see someone at the front counter.
“With the opening of community hubs and public contact points, officers will play a more visible and accessible role in the community. People can expect a better service, as we’ll be working jointly with partners to identify and tackle any problems. Together the partner agencies get a full picture of what is happening and can draw on different expertise to help the community.
“We can offer the guarantee that where police stations provide a front counter service the Force will not take this away without providing an alternative way for people to contact us in person that matches or improves upon the existing service. In some areas this will mean there will be more places to drop in or make appointments to see us.”
WHAT IT MEANS IN 2018:
Chichester Police Station
This police station has a Public Contact Point and is used for operational and neighbourhood policing, and many of services will continue to be provided from here. We will be re-developing the site to make more efficient use of space, and some non-public facing facilities provided on this site will be moved to another location.
Selsey Police Station
Services from this location will be re-provided as a Neighbourhood Policing Base, ideally from a nearby site shared with partners. Our Neighbourhood Policing Teams will work here, meaning they will be based within the community
Bracklesham Park Community Centre
This building is currently used by our Neighbourhood Policing Teams, and is well-placed within the community. We will continue to provide our services from here.
Bognor Police Station
This police station has a Public Contact Point and is used for operational and neighbourhood policing, and we will continue to provide our services from here.
Arundel Operational Policing Base
This building will remain as an Operational Policing Base, as it is in a good location for the Road Policing Unit.
Midhurst Police Station
Services from this location will be re-provided as a Public Contact Point and Neighbourhood Policing Base, ideally from a nearby site shared with partners. The public will be able to access front counter services from the Public Contact Point. Our Neighbourhood Policing Teams will work here, meaning they will be based within the community.
Petworth Police Station
Services from this location will be re-provided as a Neighbourhood Policing Base, ideally from a nearby site shared with partners. Our Neighbourhood Policing Teams will work from the new location, meaning they will be based within the community.