PCC unveils plans to open ten police stations to deliver ‘accessible local policing’

Ten police stations across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight are to be opened to the public to help drive “visible and accessible local policing”.

Sep 18, 2023
By Paul Jacques
Donna Jones

Police and crime commissioner (PCC) Donna Jones said it means there will now be a police station open to the public in every district across the two counties.

Announcing the plans on Monday (September 18) Ms Jones said it was part of her commitment to “drive up police visibility and make police accessible to the public once more”.

Hampshire Constabulary Chief Constable Scott Chilton described it as part of a new “common sense chapter of policing” across the region.

The stations, which are a mix of reopenings and new bases, will be in Cowes, Portsmouth Central, Park Gate, Petersfield, Totton, Ryde, Yateley, Eastleigh, Cosham and Gosport and are expected to open within the next 18 months. The first, a new base in West Cowes, is due to be open by the end of this year.

Ms Jones said these will help bring police closer to communities, improve visibility and support the chief constable’s new operating model in delivering excellent local policing.

She has earmarked £2 million in the 2023/24 budget to fund the scheme spanning the next 18 months with plans already underway to deliver before the end of 2023.

Four of the new stations have previously been talked about by the PCC but this is the first time the full extent of the plans have been revealed.

Ms Jones said: “I’m delighted to announce my plan to reopen ten police stations over the next 18 months to ensure the public feel connected to their police force once more.

“As commissioner, I know the closure of police stations has hugely affected communities. People have told me they don’t feel connected to police, they don’t see police in their neighbourhood. The chief and I want to change that.

“My plan will ensure there is a police station open to the public in every district across our two counties. This means people will be able to pop into their local station to report a crime, hand over property, or simply to get advice or seek reassurance.

“This plan supports the chief’s new operating model of delivering excellent neighbourhood policing. Increasing the number of police stations open to the public from 13 to 23 will drive up police visibility and put officers back in the heart of communities.”

Mr Chilton said: “Visible and accessible local policing matters. Today’s announcement that more police stations will open to the public is part of a new common sense chapter of policing in Hampshire and Isle of Wight.

“This includes a new policing model, locally focused commanders, improving investigation skills, and new proactive teams to relentlessly pursue criminals. The commissioner and I are united in our ambition to deliver a more effective, more visible service for the public.”

The force was among those to close stations during public sector cuts following the 2009 financial crisis. Across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight a large number shut their doors to the public, although some of the stations remained in use as operational bases.

The force currently has 13 police stations that are open to the public, which are a mixture of full-time and part-time opening hours.

It said the opening times of the new police stations will be determined based on local demand.

Hampshire Constabulary will also be recruiting counter staff to manage inquiries from the public, enabling police officers to focus on frontline duties.

This is the latest step by Ms Jones to increase police visibility, alongside the successful recruitment of 650 extra police officers and her commitment to bring back named ‘Local Bobbies’ to every community.

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