Police Station closure plan sparks protest

 

News that Eastleigh police station has been earmarked for closure has drawn an angry reaction from local Ukip activists but Hampshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Simon Hayes says relocating the station elsewhere in Eastleigh will save money and he has pledged to maintain current policing levels.

Around a dozen protestors gathered outside the 90 year-old Leigh Road Station on Saturday to unfurl a banner demanding:

“Lib Dems and conservatives keep your hands off our police station”

L-R Glynn Davies-Dear, Cllr Diane James,Michael Read,Cllr Andy Moore

L-R Glynn Davies-Dear, Cllr Diane James,Michael Read,Cllr Andy Moore

The small group included five Ukip councilors and the Chairs of both the Eastleigh and Winchester branch of the party, along with several candidates who will be standing in the forthcoming local elections.

Cllr Ray Finch is the leader of the Ukip group on Hampshire County Council and is also currently standing as a candidate in the European Elections.

Finch said that spending cuts by the coalition government had led to a shortfall in police budgets and that he believes that Eastleigh Council Leader Keith House wants to replace police officers with PCSOs.

Cllr Andy Moore said he believed the plan is to put policemen in shops or in an office in the new civic offices and he also said he thought that recent crimes against Asians – a murder and a spate of burglaries – showed crime was rising.

Diane James, who came a close second in last years by-election, is also standing for election to the European parliament.

James said that posting policemen in shops and offices would create ‘confusion’ and that Eastleigh was big enough to warrant its own police station.

Diane James went a lot further than Moore or Finch by suggesting the Police Commissioner should ‘fall on his sword’.

“He is obviously not doing his job.

“If he cannot stand for the residents here in Eastleigh he is not fit for purpose.

“He ought to be falling on his sword for even contemplating closing a police station such as this.”

Police Commissioner Hayes told Eastleigh News that the station move was a part of the constabulary’s ‘estates strategy’.

 “We are not moving put of Eastleigh, in fact we want to increase neighborhood policing.

“We are looking for a new presence in Eastleigh that is more welcoming and more accessible by the public”

“We certainly wont be moving out of Eastleigh and we wont be moving out of the current building until we have found something better”

“Eastleigh police station is an old building.

“It’s costing Eastleigh taxpayers at least £300,000 a year just to maintain and its not fully used to be efficient and effective to deliver neighborhood policing that is acceptable to the public.

“I am committed to spending the money to maintain the number of police and community support officers across Hampshire

“There will be a chief inspector that is responsible for neighbourhood and partnership working in Eastleigh.”

“Hampshire constabulary and myself are committed to safe neighbourhood working in Eastleigh.”

Eastleigh News understands that plans to develop the police station site for housing have been in place for some time as we reported here in 2011.

Cllr Moore advised that anyone concerned about the future of Eastleigh’s police station should write to the local MP Mike Thornton.

Ukip Protest

  27 comments for “Police Station closure plan sparks protest

  1. maureen
    April 7, 2014 at 9:27 am

    So Mrs James is back – must be an election coming up if she can get all the way from Surrey. Word probably hasn’t reached Surrey that Eastleigh Police Station is hardly used at all now. Her and her chums are again preying on people’s fears and feelings for what is just a nice attractive building and locals don’t like to see change. They do want visible policing and you don’t get that with all the coppers having a cosy office with a desk to go back to.
    Fed up with the scare tactics, don’t they have anything positive to say about anything?

  2. Sue
    April 7, 2014 at 9:44 am

    I’d like to see the stats re how much the police station is used and I’d like to know what local police officers think will be the reult of closing it. But it is a building that we all currently own that will be sold off for private development? When it’s gone it’s gone. It would cost a fortune in later years to try to replace a building like this in a central position. So I do feel we need to think this through carefully. I look forward to reading the comments of others on her to help me to decide whether this is a good thing or not.

  3. Pete Stewart
    April 7, 2014 at 10:01 am

    QUESTION: How could Eastleigh afford to build a Police Station in 1924 but can’t afford to run it 90 years later?

    ANSWER: Before we joined the EU we had our own manufacturing base to help create national wealth to pay for all these things.

    Successive EU-puppet governments have destroyed 7 million British manufacturing jobs since 1973 and exchanged our manufacturing base for nothing more than “cheap” foreign goods. No wonder our wealth generating capacity declined.

    However demand for wealth continued to grow and the only way successive EU-puppet governments could satisfy our material demand (and keep themselves in power and disguise the decline in our economy) was to encourage mass borrowing by which the people could possess ever more “cheap” foreign goods on credit.

    Do you remember how successive EU-puppet governments kept telling us how much better off we were, and how they pointed to all the material goods we had as “proof” of how much better life was under the EU? That was all an illusion.

    The hidden side to their “cheap” foreign goods policy, was escalating unemployment and associated costs plus astronomical national debt which finally crashed the economy and brought us to a most unholy Coalition and these iniquitous cuts, including the proposed axing of Eastleigh Police Station.

    UKIP says it need not be like this. Eastleigh deserves its own Police Station.

  4. pianoman
    April 7, 2014 at 10:46 am

    Why does Eastleigh need an old-fashioned high maintenance police building? If this is about the building itself, stick a listed status on it and let someone else use. As to people still living in the past, we did a lot of things in 1924 that we wouldn’t do now. Keep up.

  5. Steve Smallwood
    April 7, 2014 at 12:13 pm

    Pete Your comment is one of the funniest things I’ve read for a long time. Hope the blood pressure is OK.

    • pianoman
      April 7, 2014 at 12:40 pm

      Steve, Consider your post “favorited” 🙂

  6. April 7, 2014 at 1:12 pm

    No major objections here, provided the following comments from the Police Commissioner really are true and we don’t spend £30m on building a replacement…

    1. “We are looking for a new presence in Eastleigh that is more welcoming and more accessible by the public”

    2. “We certainly wont be moving out of Eastleigh and we wont be moving out of the current building until we have found something better”

  7. wavatar
    Eastleigh Xpress
    April 7, 2014 at 1:43 pm

    Speaking as a local resident, I like having an imposing building nearby with a big blue light on the front and a load of police cars parked round the back.

    That’s my first choice, yes, but..

    The kind of thing being proposed seems to work elsewhere so why not here?

    Redevelopment of the station site has been on the cards for a long time and pre-date the Police Commissioner who has a reducing budget to try and work with.

    Surely police stations are shrinking because they no longer need a switchboard, a radio room, rooms full of filing cabinets (and clerks) secretaries with typewriters and a canteen to keep an army of staff going?

    You can replace all of that with a laptop and vending machine!

    So if the Police Commissioner can deliver on his promises – as outlined by Ray above, is that such a bad thing?

    I would be upset to see the building demolished though and hope it can be converted.

    The Commissioner promises to maintain headcount but we should note Eastleigh is losing its three ACSO’s (Accredited Community Safety Officers).

    Of course these officers are not part of the constabulary or the PCC’s budget – they are nothing to do with the commissioner.

    They were funded by the County Council but nevertheless they carried out vital grassroots community policing especially on Anti Social issues and youth work.

    BTW they were based at …the Civic Offices!

    Which reminds me, both the Fire and the Police Station used to be based in the Old Town Hall.

    • April 7, 2014 at 5:32 pm

      We have a lovely Police Station in Hedge End, built at great expense, which is essentially useless so far as the public are concerned, because the front desk is closed…

  8. Pete Stewart
    April 7, 2014 at 2:32 pm

    Steve Smallwood/ Pianoman

    Britain is blessed with a surfeit of economists, all qualified, all with their own economic theories absorbed while at university. Indeed, there are as many economic theories as there are economists.

    The more illustrious and highly qualified have worked their way to the top of the pile and have been steering our economy for decades.

    Now see where their globalist “Eurocentric” economic theories have steered us since 1973! Britain is bankrupt!

    You may laugh (even if falsely for political effect). But is the electorate laughing?

    Meanwhile, with no significant UK manufacturing base, perhaps you could analyse where the real economic growth is going to come from (and I don’t mean more demand for “cheap” foreign goods “paid for” by more cheap credit and more debt).

    Until we solve this simple problem, we will not have the money to pay for even such basics as a Police Station, things they took for granted in 1924.

  9. Glynn Davies-Dear
    April 7, 2014 at 5:04 pm

    Imagine the scenario. A violent drunk. Needs to be shut away for the night. Where, once the Station has gone? Eastleigh has just four police officers now so what, cart him off to Southampton? Could likely need two officers to get him there safely. How many are there then to look after the town? What happened to ambulance response times after the Steel Close station closed? The statistics speak for themselves.

    • pianoman
      April 7, 2014 at 6:13 pm

      Mr D-D, I don’t think the cells in Eastleigh are used anymore. The drunks are sent to Southampton cells.

  10. Pete Stewart
    April 7, 2014 at 7:57 pm

    Pianoman –

    You say you don’t “think” the cells are used anymore. If you don’t know, why are you advocating shutting the Police Station?

    • pianoman
      April 7, 2014 at 9:08 pm

      PS – For the reasons stated by Eastleigh Xpress above. The police & PCC are best placed to know what they need.

  11. April 7, 2014 at 9:37 pm

    Law and order is supposed to maintain the fabric of our society. If the law in the guise of the police fails to remain visible through a well known presence such as a police station, we risk tears in the fabric of society because those elements amongst us will take advantage of the failure to provide an adequate deterrent.

    Housing the police in purpose made buildings is something right minded politicians do where police resources are kept safe and kept on hand for and when needed and of course the location of the Eastleigh police station offers a speedy deployment at times when needed. For some to say all that is needed is a laptop and a vending machine or even being centralised from maybe Southampton, from all accounts, a dreadfully designed building, maybe need to ask why such measures are being considered.

    Why haven’t alternative locations been suggested even before the prospect of closing the current one down been aired? The talk is sharing with the fire and rescue dept, or how about existing HCC property at Hampshire House in Southampton Road? Then just perhaps we could all have a meaningful discussion. Maybe at one of the plentiful coffee shops that have sprung up in recent years!!

    Its a fact that the police commissioner Simon Hayes is just an elected patsy doing the governments dirty work for them who has handled the situation poorly. I guess elected politicians just do not care about how people feel about their local police presence, is evident by the support of the public shown on Saturday as we stood outside the police station and through subsequent contact since Saturday.

    The political opposition to UKIP say that the party is living in the past. The reduction in locations where police offer a place of safety, a place of refuge and a place of security for neighbourhoods and small towns like Eastleigh is akin to being cast back to the dark ages.

    As populations grow larger it needs services like the police to grow with them and be seen and on hand. If you thumb through history and around the world, reductions of authority gradually lead to increased lawlessness and insecurity. What we see happening now is the result of the catastrophic economic policies of successive governments and failure of local government. Despite the glossy paints jobs or excuses being wheeled out by Conservative, Labour (are they still around?) and particularly the Lib Dems in Eastleigh, people are not liking what they are seeing. That is the failure to protect and serve the people properly.

  12. Jim
    April 7, 2014 at 10:05 pm

    The fact is, it matters not how upset this makes the LibDems, it is the public who will decide on 22nd May who speaks for them.

  13. Mark
    April 7, 2014 at 10:12 pm

    2% increase on council tax for police and crime commissioner. So how can they be charging us more and his budget is shrinking? Fishy

  14. Troy Manlin
    April 7, 2014 at 10:48 pm

    Can we dispel some myths on this – Pianoman? The panel of elected PCC representatives making the current decisions to close/relocate etc the current station due to ‘cuts’, includes a Tory County Councillor (cabinet member) from the New Forest (and therefore not concerned for Eastleigh; might be a different story if it was Lyndhurst!?) and only ONE Lib-Dem Borough Councillor and she’s from Botley? (Again some may say not much concern for Eastleigh Town?) All the other panel members are from other boroughs & districts. So in the interests of the good people of Eastleigh, who pay their hard earned council tax bill to EBC, which incidentally for 2014/2015 shows a 2% increase for yes you guessed it ‘Police and Crime Commissioner for Hampshire, why wasn’t one of the three Eastleigh County Councillors consulted etc on this significant decision? The reason is because all three Eastleigh County Councillors are UKIP and the fear is they might just have something worthwhile to contribute. Even more importantly have local representatives been consulted? After all, local taxes pay for the police so if the local community wants a fully functional fit for purpose station in central Eastleigh then they should by rights have one & all for the right reasons. There are other important considerations such as s.136 arrangements, unreported crime, a ‘soft’ legal system, reductions in community policing etc, but after all when the axe of Tory cuts is being swung by the hand spineless Lib-Dems who cares? Lets not get bogged down with such trivialities…!…cut, cut, cut & we’ll worry about the implications later!

  15. April 8, 2014 at 12:14 am

    Are we overlooking one simple fact, despite what those in office persist in repeating ( like some ancient old record player) crime is on the increase! especially here in Eastleigh, I can recall 2 incidents in the last 4 years when We have had occasion to call the law over a breakin in our area, the first one the law arrived 3 hours later! we had collected evidence of the crime that the thieves had dropped, and given them a good description of the burglers , the police did not appear to be too concerned, and one of them said oh they will be long gone now!!!. At that time there were 4 police officers in attendance, on the last call one officer arrived 4 days later, not a chance in hell of doing anything! The fact is there are no more ‘bobbies on the beat or anywhere else when you need one ! why? because they are all bogged down with paperwork and reaching impossible targets! where these cannot be met the council will manipulate figures in the hope the public will be fooled into feeling secure, . the PCSOs are so restricted as to be useless and quite frankly the only policework that can be relied on now are the traffic police . The rest of us I am afraid are on our own. I would not bother again to report anything and thereby lies the ‘nub’ many people like us simply do not bother as nothing will ever get done , dont blame the police ! they only do what they are instructed in one word targets targets targets ! the council , the government, , the NHS everyone has become obsessed with TARGETS ! A police officer on the street is a rarity indeed .

  16. wavatar
    Eastleigh Xpress
    April 8, 2014 at 12:20 am

    “Eastleigh has just four police officers now ”

    Do four police officers really need a building that size then Glynn?

    ( or is the issue actually that there aren’t enough policemen?)

    These four officers are the town’s beat bobbies – the SNT – and AYK they are assisted by two PCSOs and two specials.

    Whenever there is a serious incident though, Hampshire police response units turn up in numbers from all over the place.

    There was no lack of police or vehicles at the recent murder scene and the whole thing was being run by scene of crime officers from somewhere else – not Eastleigh.

    I’m sure this arrangement would continue just as well if the SNT was operating from a shop unit but I take Ukip’s point.

    This is a big town we should have our own police station with lots of policemen in it (I don’t mind if they are just drinking tea) AND a shop based drop-in centre as well.

    I would also like to have our own magistrates and juvenile court back – justice should be seen to be served within the community IMO.

    While we are at it, let’s have our ambulance station back too and how about opening our own town centre based 24 hour A&E unit?

    I think we deserve all of these things but where will the money come from?

    I also wonder if Ukip’s Stephen West had been elected PCC instead of Simon Hayes what he might have done differently given that he would have inherited the same finances and faced the same squeeze?

    It’s worthwhile having a debate about law and order – I’ve had a few emails and one said this issue has ‘fired the starting gun’ on the elections.

    I agree but I think it’s fired the starting gun on next years General Election campaign.

    It’s going to be a long year…

  17. Sue
    April 8, 2014 at 9:47 am

    if the police dont need the whole building then divide it and allow the community to use some? But dont take away a central point of contact, help and support? And I do believe that people are “held” at Eastleigh as a professional friend of mine has had to visit clients there?

    • Troy Malinn
      April 8, 2014 at 11:12 am

      Sue, very good point. I’m sure that the building could be used sensibly for community action & help eg drink or drug advice/counselling etc even if we cannot have an increase number of bobbies at this stage to utilize it fully. With all the new (unwanted and unnecessary) housing in the immediate area, surely you would hope to see a similar proportional increase in community policing – similarly GP surgeries etc? You would think so!? Anyway

      • wavatar
        Eastleigh Xpress
        April 8, 2014 at 6:35 pm

        I naively asked the previous SNT Sarge at Eastleigh if he would be getting any more officers to police the increased population/habitated area.

        Perhaps money generated from the New Homes Bonus could fund more PCSOs? That is what it is supposed to be spent on after all – infrastructure.

  18. April 8, 2014 at 10:07 pm

    Stop sending £54,0000 a day to an undemocratic political union most people in Eastleigh dont want! We need to look at all the other public services that have gone or are going,, a decent bus service , a hospital fit for its patients, a town that boasted a thriving market , now to be filled with stalls selling goods from Germany and France,in the vain attempt to make us feel ‘continental’ so the local market produce will disappear along with many more jobs ..our Railway yards that now lie desolate and defunct, A house building programme that is going to decimate the little green space we have left, Where will our children go to school in a few years with all the extra families being brought in as cheap labour, under the guise of the this government being seen to be helping immigrants to make their home here. We need to get back to basics and start by looking after those who live and work here and have done for many years, they are the bread and butter of any council,the reason for its very existence! without these people they would be out on the street or on the end of dole queue .

  19. Pete Stewart
    April 8, 2014 at 10:44 pm

    I repeat the question: How could Eastleigh afford this Police Station in 1924, but not 90 years later?

    I repeat the answer: The EU has exchanged our wealth GENERATING manufacturing jobs for wealth CONSUMING unemployment, “cheap” foreign goods and massive debt.

    The bottom line: The EU has bankrupted Britain at a time of increasing crime.

  20. Matthew (Bird Man) Myatt
    April 9, 2014 at 1:40 am

    Eastleigh Police Station no longer has a custody suite for holding people in cells. It was closed two years ago and ALL detainees are taken to Southampton. The offices have been slowly run down since then and many staff have been relocated to Hedge End and Southampton. They do still have one of the two interview suites available, but it has not been used for some time and the cells are being used for storage. I do understand that the building is grade II listed, so should remain what ever happens to it’s occupants.

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