MP condemns police station closure
PUBLISHED: 11:05 21 March 2016
Burnham ‘must have a police station of its own’ according to the town’s MP after it was revealed the police enquiry office looks set to be housed in the town’s library.
It was announced back in November the town’s police station was set to close as part of Avon and Somerset Constabulary cost-cutting plans. These include moving officers to smaller facilities and come on top of £60million worth of cuts over the past four years.
MP James Heappey told the Mercury he believes the decision to close the station should be reversed regardless of budget cuts.
He said: “Libraries make excellent focal points for residents to access information. I enjoy holding my surgeries in Burnham Library and it would be great to see the police, council and other authorities using them too.
“However, while the library is the perfect place for a police officer to hold a drop-in session for residents who want a quick chat, they are not a replacement for a police station. I am calling for the decision to be reversed.”
Burnham is one of a number of stations to fall victim to financial cutbacks and Mr Heappey is concerned about the impact it may have over the summer.
He said: “Burnham and Highbridge needs a police station of its own to make residents feel secure and to provide a base for policing in the town – and nearby – during the summer when the population increases with all our visitors.”
Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens is adamant the closure is the best use of funds as a result of the enforced cuts.
She said: “We have had to find £60million savings over the past four years and have to find at least £16million over the next four years.
“As a result of the cuts, we have regrettably lost over 500 officers. Plans such as moving into Burnham’s library make better use of public money while ensuring a police presence remains in the local community.”