Why are you selling all the buildings?
Many of the buildings are simply too big. The force has been slimmed down by 20% and this is reflected in the amount of space required in our buildings. Some of those buildings are old and either require significant work or are simply expensive to run. Selling buildings releases capital which can be used to update the remaining estate.
I have always believed that to reduce the estate rather than remove front line police is a more pragmatic approach. In times of austerity hard choices have to be made. I chose to keep police officers rather than empty buildings. The police estate has reduced by a third in my term, but we have more police officers because of that, and the numbers of PCSO’s hasn’t reduced at all. If a police station is closed or sold, the Chief Constable and I have always said that there will still be a policing footprint in that community. An example is Boscombe Police Station, the building was closed because it was in the wrong location, and the Neighbourhood Officers have been moved to the Argos building, in the main road, making them more accessible.
And don’t forget, more buildings have opened as well. For example, we have opened a new police base in the Fire Station at Portland, and will shortly be doing the same in Beaminster.