WEST Mercia’s Police and Crime Commissioner faced the angry residents of Ellesmere last week.
Bill Longmore visited the town just days after announcing its police station will close as part of £1.5 million budget saving measures.
Meeting with town and Shropshire councillors, plus North Shropshire MP Owen Paterson, Mr Longmore also took questions from residents at an event hosted at the doomed station on Grange Road.
Previously, Ellesmere Mayor, Councillor Alan Clarke, said the closure threat was one of the town’s “biggest concerns”, as well as those living in the surrounding areas.
At that same town council meeting, Shropshire councillor Ann Hartley said the visit would be an opportunity to show Mr Longmore how the police base could be moved into a building at Ellesmere’s Fire Station, a proposal suggested by Shropshire Fire Service soon after the announcement was made.
She commented: “We want to show him how it makes perfect sense. It is a way forward and will make our fire station more viable.”
The visit forms part of Mr Longmore’s pledge to “keep listening” to the views of communities that could be affected by the closure proposals.
He commented: “I am more than happy to travel anywhere in the West Mercia area to talk to people about these proposals, because I think it’s really important that we explain what it all means for people. The fact is that we have to save about £20 million by 2015, and we have to make the best possible use of the police estate.
“But having said that, if a community has a particular need for a police station, or there’s an opportunity to share a building with someone else, we need to consider everything very carefully. I will continue talking to as many people as I can between now and the end of March when the Chief Constable will submit his final proposals.”
The £1.5 million saving would be the equivalent of keeping 30 Police Constables or 51 PCSOs on the beat.
ABOVE: North Shropshire MP, left, and local councillors, met with Police and Crime Commissioner Bill Longmore last week to discuss the future of the town’s police station.