WHAT a predictable shambles plans for selling off Salisbury Police Station and reorganising policing in and around the city has turned into.

The scheme was flawed from the start and the timescale for carrying it out unachievable.

Experienced and wise old hands like retired former Salisbury police chief Frank Lockyer warned the schedule was unworkable at a public meeting last July and that view has now been fully vindicated by subsequent events. A 12-month postponement from December 2013 to 2014 was announced not long after that meeting.

Now the Journal has revealed that a proposed temporary custody unit to replace existing facilities has proved too costly and that for the next two years, until a permanent new unit is built, suspects arrested in the city will be transported to Melksham, some 30 miles away.

Meanwhile 100 response officers serving Salisbury and south Wiltshire will be based eight miles out of the city in Amesbury.

And a further 50 officers in neighbourhood and plain clothes teams will be relocated to the city’s Bourne Hill council offices.

It all seems more like Keystone Cops rather the effective and professional policing we received from Wiltshire Constabulary in past times.

The force will inevitably shoulder the blame for allowing itself to be steamrolled into making promises it had no real chance of keeping.

But the real culprits are Wiltshire Council, Police and Crime Commissioner Angus Macpherson and Salisbury MP John Glen, whose indecent haste in trying to get the old Wilton Road police station dedicated as the site for a university technical college, triggered the chaos.

David Vallis, Durrington