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By Gary Smee Thursday 21 February 2013 Updated: 22/02 10:05
A NUMBER of police bases are set to close and several others will be relocated as part of a major revamp of policing in the region.
Under plans unveiled by West Mercia's Chief Constable David Shaw and Police and Crime Commissioner Bill Longmore on Thursday, bases in Crabbs Cross and the Kingfisher Centre will close as part of efforts to save £20.1million by 2015.
Redditch's main police station in Grove Street will eventually be sold and relocated elsewhere in the town - as revealed by the Standard last month. No decision has yet been made on where the new station will be based but a link up with the fire service is one of the options being considered.
Wythall Police Station will close and the Safer Neighbourhood Team based out of Rubery but a community policing post will be set-up in the village.
Throughout the force area the number of stations where police officers are based to respond to emergency calls will be slashed from 30 to 11 and the number of Safer Neighbourhood Teams (SNT) made up of a local police officer supported by PCSOs, special constables and volunteers will be cut to 82.
The changes will save £1.5 million - the equivalent of 30 police officers or 50 PCSOs.
Mr Shaw moved to reassure people officers would still be made available 24/7 and the aim was to switch spending from buildings to the front line.
"Our estate will be smaller in the future and this will release money to pay for our workforce and other resources that deliver protection," he said.
"Crime levels are down and public confidence in policing is good. Response times will remain at the excellent level they currently are and we will also be moving towards officers using increased mobile technology. This will enable them to remain on the streets for longer and not have to return to base to check systems. This increased visibility and patrol time is better for our communities.
"With strong leadership and the confidence we have in our new approach we will ensure West Mercia remains a safe place to live and work."
Mr Shaw added communities which were considered to be a priority would also have access to extra resources under the changes. In Redditch these are Winyates, Matchborough, Greenlands, Lodge Park, Batchley and Central Wards.
Mr Longmore added: "Now this plan has been presented to me I will be seeking feedback from communities to ensure it is entirely fit for meeting the needs of those who live, work and visit West Mercia.
"It is vital to remember at this time that every pound saved on our estate means more money to protect people from harm."
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