Police stations in Wisbech and Whittlesey on commissioner’s ‘options for future use to be explored’ list but March and Ely are safe

Map illustrating what police and crime commissioner Jason Ablewhite describes as 'estate requirement

Map illustrating what police and crime commissioner Jason Ablewhite describes as 'estate requirements' for Cambs Police - Credit: Archant

Police stations in Wisbech and Whittlesey face a shake up as part of a review now being undertaken by police and crime commissioner Jason Ablewhite.

However in the same report Cllr Ablewhite confirmed there are no plans to make changes at March or Ely.

The commissioner says both Wisbech and Whittlesey fall under an “options for future use to be explored” category as he works his way through the force’s £35 million worth of assets.

In the past year the number of buildings owned or run by the force has dropped from 41 to 29 but he hopes to make further savings, especially in the running costs of more than £4 million a year.

Current projects include a new vehicle workshop centrally located for St Ives that is due to open in spring 2017. This will replace three separate buildings in March, Cambridge and Peterborough.

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“Where sites are not required, I will be looking to either sell them for an immediate return or, where appropriate, redevelop them in order to generate long-term income,” he said.

“It doesn’t make sense to retain buildings that the chief constable says are not required operationally. Buildings don’t protect people but people do.”

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Cllr Ablewhite said the increasing use of technology continues to reduce the demand on office space. He also said local policing was being made more accessible through the roll out of contact points and typically sited within busy supermarkets; Wisbech and Chatteris were towns pioneering this approach.

The police commissioner and Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Fire Authority have already agreed to work together to develop a business case to look at bringing both together. This will include reviewing the estates of both and identifying areas for both services to work together. Wisbech has been looked at for some years where the fire service could work from the same premises as the police force.

Alec Wood, Chief Constable said: “Agile working means that officers are no longer tied to police stations but instead are able to respond to needs more effectively.

“With better technology and collaborative working, officers can spend more time out in the community; increasing visibility which I know is what the public really want.

“This review will help us ensure we have the right facilities to meet future policing demand.”

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