DCSIMG

UNDER THREAT

Inspector Tim Holland outside Heckmondwike police station. (d24081120)

Inspector Tim Holland outside Heckmondwike police station. (d24081120)

  • by By Lauren Ballinger
 

The last remaining police station in Spen could close under a Kirklees-wide force review, according to a Cleckheaton councillor.

Coun Kath Pinnock believes Spen’s policing team could be moved to Batley, and fears it could take police longer to respond to an emergency.

She said Mark Burns-Williamson, West Yorkshire police and crime commissioner, told Spen Valley Area Committee meeting he wants to cut the number of police divisions in Kirklees from seven to four.

Coun Pinnock (Lib Dem, Cleckheaton) believes these would serve Dewsbury, Huddersfield, Holmfirth, and Batley and Spen, which could put Heckmondwike police station under threat.

And she vowed to fight any move to get rid of it.

She said: “People need to be aware of this. Having no police station in the whole of the Spen Valley is foolish.

“More than 50,000 people live in the Spen Valley and I can’t think of another area of that size that doesn’t have its own police station.

“It’s not acceptable and it’s outrageous. It would mean we have no police officers on the ground picking up information from local people.

“Police officers would have a lot more travelling to do. Batley station is five miles from Scholes – that is a fair way to travel if there is an emergency.

“We are not against change and we know money is tight. The police service has to make best use of its money. That means it has to be efficient, and having a police team in Batley in not an efficient use of police resources. To have stations very close together in Dewsbury and Batley and none in the Spen Valley makes no sense, while Heckmondwike is fairly central.

“There will be an impact for people and on the quality of our policing, whatever they say.”

Insp Tim Holland, from Spen NPT, said: “A Kirklees-wide review of policing is under way. As yet, nothing has been agreed.”

Mr Burns-Williamson told the Guardian no decision had been made to close any station.

“The way we do policing is changing,” he said.

“The chief constable is implementing a programme of change which looks at cultural and organisational change across the force.

“Already the eight divisions are now five to align with council boundaries.

“With the damaging government cuts we need to constantly look at how we can make savings and protect frontline policing.

“But as yet no decision has been made with regard to police stations at this local level. I am not aware of any plans to close stations across Kirklees and the responsibility lies with me.

“I have made very clear to the chief constable decisions on buildings must be agreed by me and him.”

 

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