Two Leicester police stations set to close as force tries to save money
Two police stations could close and their beat officers moved to new bases.
The stations in Melton Road, Belgrave, and St Oswald's Road, New Parks, Leicester, may be sacrificed as part of the force's drive to cut spending.
Senior officers have stressed that the beat officers would be moved to new locations – possibly city council-owned – at the heart of their patches.
The officers who cover the Golden Mile and surrounding area could be moved to Belgrave Neighbourhood Centre, in Rothley Street, where they already have a small office.
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Discussions are continuing over a possible new base for the New Parks beat team.
Neither station has a public inquiry office.
The combined annual cost of running the two stations is more than £70,000. If put on the market, they could sell for a total of £500,000.
A number of small rural police stations and buildings have been sold off in the past year and officers moved to community centres.
Senior officers have held meetings with councillors and businesses in the two city wards to discuss the future of the stations.
John Thomas, a Belgrave councillor, said: "A lot of people in the community do not want the police station to close.
"But, the police have to make a 20 per cent cut in their budget because of the Government's spending cuts.
"It's the same for the city council. We also have to make large cuts and none of them are pleasant."
Uday Dholakia, chairman of the Leicester Asian Business Association, said: "We live in a time of austerity and the police station is hardly visible.
"Businesses will want to be confident that although the police might not be there any longer, the officers will still be on the ground."
Chief Superintendent Rob Nixon, commander of policing in the city, said the beat teams would remain in place until any changes were made.
He said: "Across the city some officers already work from community buildings, including schools, hospitals and community centres, and those moves have been seen as a success.
"We are in the early stages of looking at the future use of the police station in Melton Road, Belgrave, and consulting with local community groups and residents for their views.
"We are open to suggestions and are currently exploring options including the possibility of co-locating with partner agencies in Belgrave.
"Feedback has historically suggested that the police would be better placed working from the community centre where there is a high footfall, but we appreciate this is not the view of all residents."
The force is making millions of pounds of cuts because of the Government's public spending reductions. The proposal was first put to Leicestershire Police Authority earlier this year, before the election of police and crime commissioner, Sir Clive Loader.