Police station closures criticised by candidates competing for major new role
THE ongoing closure of police stations across the county has come under fire from two of the candidates vying to become
Gloucestershire's first Police and Crime Commissioner.
Both Labour's Rupi Dhanda and independent candidate Martin Surl have questioned the wisdom of the closures, saying that Gloucestershire Police Authority should defer any decisions to shut police
stations until after November's elections.
"Since 2011, 16 police stations have closed and five more are set to close leaving just 10 out of an original 31," said Mrs Dhanda.
"We have two thirds of our police stations closing in less than two years so isn't it time for the police authority to say they are going to hold off making these cuts?"
"I accept that there were maybe some stations that were not being used and therefore it would have been better to prioritise in certain locations but equally I think it should be the new
commissioner who makes those sorts of decisions."
Earlier this month former superintendent Martin Surl pledged to save Coleford Police Station in the Forest of Dean if elected.
The station is currently earmarked for closure following a decision by the county police authority in January to move officers to a new headquarters located at the Forest of Dean's District Council
Mr Surl said the decision to close the police station did not make operational or economic sense.
A press release issued by Gloucestershire Police Authority said: "Both the authority and constabulary feel officers can work efficiently and effectively to deal with crime and community concerns
from shared accommodation at the Forest of Dean District Council offices in the town.
"Faced with the requirement to make £18 million worth of budget cuts over a four year period, the authority reviewed its estates strategy with the aim of keeping police officers in post,
prioritising staffing above buildings which are costly to run."
Elections for Gloucestershire's Police and Crime Commissioner will take place on Thursday, November 15.
Last month, Victoria Atkins, a barrister from the Cotswolds, was selected as the Conservative Party's candidate for the role.