Essex: Police force approves sale of nine stations

ESSEX police has approved the sale of nine police stations across the county including three in Tendring.

Following large cuts to the force’s policing budget, 21 stations had their front counters closed to help make savings of �42million over the next three years.

On Monday, the Essex Police Authority Finance and Audit Committee formally signed off the sale of nine of the stations and nine other police-owned properties following a review carried out last year.

Among the stations being sold are Brightlingsea, Mistley and Walton. Officers in Brightlingsea now share a base at the town’s fire station and alternative sites are still being decided at Manningtree and Frinton, for Mistley and Walton police stations.

Essex police has an estate consisting of more than 110 buildings. It is thought that the sale of the 18 buildings will generate between �4-5million.

Other stations which being sold include Rochford, South Benfleet, Moulsham Lodge, Hatfield Heath, Great Yeldham and Stansted Mountfitchet.

Police buildings being sold include three in Pitsea, two in Chelmsford, and others in Kelvedon Hatch, Hadleigh, Tolleshunt D’arcy and Westcliff.

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The running costs for all buildings came is �300,000 per year.

Chief Constable Jim Barker-McCardle said: “These decisions are driven by the commitment to provide the most efficient and professional policing operation possible for the people of Essex.

“Faced with highly challenging budget cuts, the Essex Police Authority and the force have had to make some very tough decisions. Ultimately, we do not believe that lighting, heating and maintaining a building that is under utilised is the best use of Essex taxpayers’ money.

“Neighbourhood policing teams will continue to be based in local areas, holding beat surgeries, attending local meetings and finding solutions to local problems. This will not change. What will change is that, on occasions, some neighbourhood policing teams will be based in buildings we share with partners, such as Essex County Fire and Rescue Service.

“Through our recent restructuring programme and new shift patterns, Essex police is maximising the number of officers available to investigate crime, police the streets and respond to emergency incidents. Among other recent changes, we have introduced a new model of borderless policing, supported by new resource tracking software in our Force Control Room.

“We are also installing Mobile Data Terminals in our police vehicles which allow officers to stay out on patrol for longer, rather than returning to police stations to complete administrative tasks. These developments provide the Force Control Room operators with fast time information to locate and deploy police officers and PCSOs quickly and efficiently.”

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