Stalham Police Station closes in cost-cutting move

Stalham Police Station. Picture: MARK BULLIMORE

Stalham Police Station. Picture: MARK BULLIMORE

Stalham Police Station will close its doors forever tomorrow, as part of cost-cutting measures.

Stalham Police Station. Picture: MARK BULLIMORE

Stalham Police Station. Picture: MARK BULLIMORE

Police chiefs are talking to the fire service about setting up a police emergency phone location and 'touch-down point' - a desk which could be used by visiting police staff - at Stalham Fire Station, in order to keep a visible police presence in the town.

A police spokesman said there would be no cut in officer numbers, or redundancies, as a result of the closure.

Stalham Police Station, at Rivermead, where the local safer neighbourhood team is based, was earmarked under the police's 2012-2016 Estates Strategy as being 'not being fit for future operational purposes'.

Police teams covering Hoveton, Stalham and the wider northern areas of the Broads will in future work together from Hoveton Police Station, 'maintaining the strong historic support for policing our communities in and around the northern Broads,' according to the spokesman.

The redundant station and a parcel of nearby police land will be put up for sale on the open market.

A year ago this month Norfolk police's chief constable Simon Bailey revealed that a 'handful' of police stations, including Stalham, were likely to close over the next three or four years as he tried to find ways to plug a £9.3m funding gap in the £26.4m the force needed need to save between then and 2020.

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Others at risk have not yet been revealed.

Mr Bailey said: 'Police stations do not detect or prevent crime. It's officers who do that and that's what I need to protect. Bricks and mortar cost me money and that's money that I don't have.'

Duncan Edmonds, chairman of Stalham Town Council, said residents would be very unhappy about the loss of a police presence in the town but there had been a 'general lack of information' about the closure and many people were not aware that the police station was shutting.

It would follow the loss last year of Stalham's two banks. 'People are getting used to cut-backs and closures, but it's very sad,' Dr Edmonds added.

The police spokesman said the dedicated Broads Beat service would remain based at Hoveton Police Station and other services covering north Norfolk would continue to be provided by supporting police officers and staff based at North Walsham Police Station, which is being re-built.

The Stalham closure follows the replacement of other north Norfolk police stations in Cromer (2009) and Wells (2008), and the re-housing of Sheringham Safer Neighbourhood team into Sheringham Fire Station (2012).