Furious Labour councillors launch petition demanding police station is retained in Cambridge city centre
Labour councillors have launched a petition to save Cambridge city centre’s police station.
They are demanding a fully-staffed station is retained after Cambridgeshire Police and Crime Commissioner, Conservative Jason Abelwhite, announced proposals to close and sell the Parkside site and open a new divisional base in Milton.
The new site, on church land near the Park & Ride and A10, would double the custody space available. Currently, officers have to travel to Peterborough to book suspects into custody when the cells are full at Parkside.
The force says a ‘police information point’ and community teams would be retained in the city at a location to be confirmed. Labour warns this could simply amount to officers hotdesking from a shared office.
Cllr Nicky Massey, executive city councillor for transport and community safety, said: “We don’t want an information point. We don’t want a desk in a shared office. We want to keep Cambridge safe. Our city centre needs a police station.”
A public meeting to discuss the proposals is being held on Monday June 10 at Milton Primary School, from 7pm.
Cllr Massey added: “Whoever heard of a city not having a police station, particularly one which has so many young people out at night and which welcomes visitors from all over the world?
“Our city has a growing population and with that comes an increased need for services such as policing.To suggest our city’s policing needs can be met by a reduced service is clearly a cause for real concern.
“This move will not only put people at risk but will also be a huge setback for officers who have been working so hard to improve community safety.
“We need to keep a city centre station, one that our brilliant neighbourhood police officers can walk and cycle from.
“This would also ensure that patrol cars would still able to reach and respond to emergency situations quickly.If they have to drive in from outside the city, that’ll become impossible.
“Simply having a contact or information point just won’t cut it. People need to be able to talk to an officer in confidence, to feel safe, supported and secure.
“We will be going along to the public meeting on Monday to strongly challenge the PCC’s proposals – and we urge you to join us,” said Cllr Massey.
Labour councillors unanimously agreed at a recent meeting that it was essential to retain aCambridge police station.
They have written to both the Police and Crime Commissioner and Chief Constable Nick Dean, calling on them to retain a smaller city centre police station where neighbourhood officers can be based, with parking for patrol cars and a desk that is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
They also want to some of the proceeds from the sale of the Parkside site reinvested. In December 2016, the Cambridgeshire police estate had an overall value of £35million.
The petition can be signed at https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/we-need-a-police-station-in-cambridge-city-centre.
More by this authorPaul Brackley