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Moving headquarters is just a way to make cash
12:29pm Thursday 15th August 2013 in Letters
THE more I read in the Journal about the planned closure of Salisbury police station, the more it seems to me to be a case of making money despite a real risk of affecting the level of public service.
Last week’s Postbag made some worrying reading.
I was unable to get to the public meeting and was interested to read how it went.
The headline on the lead letter quickly told me the situation – “No reassurance gained...”
Reading the letters raised even more concerns.
John Cutland said the police have been given the task of closing the station and rearranging the services on an impossibly short time scale.
Elizabeth Hortop’s verdict: “The panel of police and the PCC came across as a bunch of stumbling, incoherent and ignorant amateurs who had no knowledge of the issues at hand and could not answer even rudimentary questions about the proposal.”
This does little to reassure me that this proposal was thought through carefully.
The Police and Crime Commissioner tries to justify the sale of the building by suggesting that the concept is not entirely new and that consultation on neighbourhood policing has been going on since 2011.
It is easy to use words and statistics to make a point and even turn things around so that they appear to be in everyone’s best interest.
I am not convinced that moving uniformed police officers, plus the entire CID department and associated civilian staff, out of their purpose-built headquarters and scattering them around south Wiltshire is in their best interest or that of the public.
Losing a custody suite and then having to design and build a new one “somewhere” hardly seems a wise use of limited resources, and where are Salisbury’s much-acclaimed Child Protection Unit and the specialist rape investigation department going to go?
How can it be more economic or provide a better service to split a work force up?
Communication between departments will cost more, there will be a need for more travel between sections and the working day will, overall, become more difficult and costly for all concerned.
Usually, firms and businesses try to “centralise” to be more efficient, not “disintegrate”.
There is one other very important point about this proposed sale.
I believe the police headquarters in Wilton Road also has quite a few police houses on site and a sports field.
Are they to be included in the sale?
Even if there is an urgent need for a University Technical College, I do not believe it justifies selling off Salisbury’s police headquarters, and possibly a number of police houses and a sports field while at the same time putting at risk the level of service to the public.
There must be other already empty buildings around the city that are could be used.
ROLAND BATTEN, Porton
A novel idea for station
I THINK I have the ideal solution for the location of the proposed University Technical College, which would mean that the police station could stay where it is and where everyone knows to go when they need the help of the police.
Why not co-locate it at Bourne Hill? At a stroke, this would remove the “white elephant” status of the latter, and provide a perfect opportunity to introduce a degree course in public service.
Councillors would have compulsory places on the course to study such important subjects as humility, honesty, how to really listen, how to be responsible with other people’s money and how to develop common sense.
Once they had graduated, they would begin to deserve our respect.
And we would be better able to resist the overwhelming desire to put them in re-instated stocks in the city centre, and pelt them with stinking rubbish.
On second thoughts, the latter would provide a great new tourist attraction, which would match the medieval state of our roads.
PETER MITCHELL, Salisbury
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