Concern over loss of police stations

Beccles Police Station

Beccles Police Station - Credit: Nick Butcher

Community figures in Beccles, Halesworth and Eye have spoken of their disappointment following the news that the police stations in all three towns will close to the public next year.

The announcement was made as part of a major Suffolk Police shake-up, with 15 stations set to close across the county in total.

Beccles mayor Hugh Taylor said: 'I don't know what the statistics are on the number of people who use the station but I often speak to people who go in and I have done it myself before when I want to know something.

'Removing that option will bring a level of uncertainty and I hope they can reassure residents that they will still be able to access the police on a local basis.'

The stations will close to the public from April 2016, but will remain operational. Lowestoft police station, along with Ipswich and Bury St Edmunds, will remain open to the public.

Alastair Macfarlane, vice-chairman of the crime reduction panel for Halesworth, Beccles, Bungay and Southwold, said: 'Street meets are a partial solution but direct access to a personal response rather than by phone or internet is the best proven way of effective action and good public morale.'

Mayor of Eye Maria Ford said: 'I don't think the fact that the police station will be closed to the public will have a big impact, but I think people will mourn the loss of the opportunity to use it, even if they haven't used it much in the past. It is there as a safety net.'

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Waveney MP Peter Aldous said he would be feeding back concerns to Suffolk's police and crime commissioner Tim Passmore.

He said: 'I think the important thing is they will still be operational and there will be police there, so they will still be part of the community, and they can still respond to things quickly and stay aware of the local issues.'

Speaking after the announcement, temporary chief constable Gareth Wilson said while some changes had been driven by the savings requirement, it was also essential that they provide policing that is right for today. He said the pattern of crime has changed and so have the ways people contact the police.

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