Oakham police station could be sold to save money

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OAKHAM police station could be sold as part of ongoing plans to save money.

At a meeting on Monday Leicestershire Police Authority, chairman Barrie Roper and Chief Constable Simon Cole spoke about the budget, the future of policing in the county and residents’ key concerns.

The Mercury asked whether the future of Oakham police station was safe after 12 stations were sold last year.

Mr Cole said: “We will maintain a presence in Oakham.

“People want us to be present in their communities but there are more ways of doing that than having a traditional police station.

“They evolved in the Victorian times because people had no other way of contacting the police. There are now plenty of other ways to do that. The world has changed and we need to change with it.”

And yesterday in a statement to the Mercury, Leicestershire Police finance director Paul Dawkins said: “We are committed to sustaining 15 local policing units across the force area in support of the delivery of local policing services.

“This includes a local policing unit’s presence at Oakham. We are currently in the process of valuing the Oakham site and are looking at options around its future with local partners.”

Uppingham police station in Leicester Road, was one of those sold last year and the police beat team based in the town moved to the town hall in High Street East. It was bought by Uppingham School for more than £100,000.

Police use new technology to access files, emails and information and the feedback from the community has been extremely positive.

Neighbourhood Watch coordinator Ron Simpson of Hawthorn Drive, Uppingham, said: “The best thing you have done in Rutland is close Uppingham police station.

“There is more visible policing on the streets and people feel safer.

“There are some times when closing a building can be a very good thing and this is one of them.”

But the case of Oakham police station is more complicated.

The station was opened in 1993 and is the main hub for Rutland Local Policing Unit. The cells at the station have been closed for a number of years but police still store weapons and kit at the quarters.

If it was sold Leicestershire Police would have to find an equally secure location to move to.

At the meeting on Monday, it was implied that without a council tax rise, visible policing in the county would decline within a few years.

The police authority is currently looking at other ways of saving money and gaining capital. This could mean the end of policing as we now know it.

Uppingham School has submitted a planning application to Rutland County Council to develop the former police station into a house for a member of staff.

To view the application visit www.rutland.gov.uk