"Salisbury as a growing city needs a police station".

That's the view of the independent candidate for Wiltshire Police and Crime Commissioner, Mike Rees, who has pledged to campaign for the city to have its own police station again. 

Salisbury's Wilton Road station closed in June 2014.

Former Detective Inspector Mike Rees says the empty building is "a striking monument to poor decision making".

Since 2014, Mike says, Wiltshire police has been selling off what is described as "underused police stations" to save £900,000 a year by the end of 2021.

But that has meant that the county’s only city now has no police station.

'I'll be looking at this in detail'

Since the closure of Salisbury's Wilton Road premises, in June 2014, there are now only two custody units in Wiltshire. Any detained persons have to be conveyed to Melksham or Swindon police stations. Police officers work from offices owned by Wiltshire Council.

Mike said: “How can a major tourist city like Salisbury be devoid of a police station or custody unit? Officers and staff are currently sited in the council offices at Bourne Hill, which I believe is wholly unsuitable.

“This is something I’ll be looking at in detail if I’m elected as Police and Crime Commissioner, I’ll be looking at how cost effective it really is to take those arrested more than an hour away.

“In line with government policy at the time Salisbury Police station was closed and was converted into a UTC (University Technical College) educational establishment. However, the college was under used and subsequently closed.

"A promised replacement police station and custody unit has never materialised and there seems to be no prospect of them being established.”

Salisbury Police Station at sunset on the day it closed - June 27, 2014.

Salisbury Police Station at sunset on the day it closed - June 27, 2014.

'A striking monument to poor decision making'

Currently the former Salisbury police station is boarded up and empty.

According to an FOI request submitted by Mike, Wiltshire Police were paid about £2million for the building.

“It’s a striking monument to poor decision making in my view. Salisbury as a growing city needs a police station and a custody unit. Good policing relies on knowing and understanding what’s going on in the local community.

"When you lose local stations you can lose accessibility and engagement with the public. You have to weigh up, in a case like this, the cost against the value of these facilities to the local residents,” Mike said.

Mike said: “If elected, I will make it a priority to review further planned sales and closures and revisit what I believe is a questionable decision to put police officers and staff into council offices.”

Mike left South Wales at the age of 18, to join Wiltshire Police as a constable. He went on to become a detective inspector and gave 30 years to the force.

Since then he’s set up his own business and is also an active volunteer in his home community of Malmesbury.

To find out more about Mike and/or to follow him go to facebook.com/M.R.PCC.W, Twitter @MikeRees_PCCW or his website mrpcc.co.uk.

For more information on all the PCC candidates, click here

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