More police to be based out of town

PUBLISHED: 12:02 31 August 2014

Archant

BURNHAM and Cheddar police teams are moving base to a new Bridgwater hub - but it will not affect the area's coverage, according to a neighbourhood inspector.

The response officer team based at Burnham Police Station, in Burnham Road, will be relocating to the new police headquarters in Bridgwater which opened earlier this year, with the station set to close altogether within 18 months.

They will be joined by staff from Cheddar Police Station in Cliff Street, which is also due to close by 2017.

The news marks the first movement of officers from Burnham as the force gears up for the changes, with the Avon and Somerset region to save £42million by 2018 in order 
to meet Government spending reviews.

Andy Pritchard, a neighbourhood inspector for Sedgemoor, said: “The neighbourhood officers will continue in Burnham and Cheddar, but the response officers are relocating purely to start and finish their shifts in Bridgwater.

“They will still be working from the police area, so there will be no noticeable difference during their shifts.”

In February, sergeant Ashley Jones, who works with both stations affected, said a new operating model around ‘hubs’ such as Bridgwater had been agreed, but there had been ‘no decision to sell Burnham or Cheddar police stations at the present time’.

Inspector Pritchard said: “We are in the process of looking at our buildings in the Burnham and Cheddar areas, and nothing has been decided yet.

“We are in a scoping phase at the moment, and considering all options.”

Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens revealed in April that financial cutbacks will result in the sharing of buildings with councils, fire and ambulance services.

She said: “I do not want residents to feel that the police are withdrawing from their area or street.

“This is about reducing the amount of oversized, under-utilised buildings and providing the best possible access for communities.”

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