Herald Opinion: Every city or town centre needs a police station

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There is something oddly comforting about the replica Dixon of Dock Green style lamp that hangs over the door to Eastbourne’s town centre police station.

The Grove Road offices may these days be little more than an administration centre, but they are tangible. Touchable for those wanting a word with the police. Accessible to all, at most hours of the day.

The notion that our men and women in blue can somehow uproot and operate from the council offices down the road, sounds a little fanciful. How would it be manned, and at what hours? Would it be a desk from nine to five or some sub-let unit with the lights on late into a Saturday evening? Or as we might more cyncially fear, simply a telephone point with a remote link to the control centre tucked well away in Hammonds Drive?

From day one, the coalition government was blunt enough to tell us that balancing the books again would mean fundamental changes to the very fabric of British life.

Emotional it might sound then to say that every city or town centre needs a police station. But it’s true. Even if it’s nothing more than a shell, it’s a reminder of the forces of law and order.

It’s much like bobbies on the beat. We tried to do without them but they bring comfort to communities and for many older people particularly, they help allay the fear of crime.

Like all of us, the police force has to tighten its belt. But perception is all important. And out of sight is out of mind for many would-be trouble-makers. This move should be given much careful thought and consideration.

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“IT IS clear that we cannot carry on as we are in the long term”. So said hospital chief Darren Grayson in the most telling sign yet that for all the NHS trust’s protestations, the future of maternity services in Eastbourne is very much on the line.

The real issue here is not maternity but obstetrics - the care that goes into producing a healthy baby with a minimum of danger and discomfort to both mother and child. When we hear that service is safe in both Eastbourne and Hastings, we will feel more secure. Until then, we are right to remain suspicious and on our guard.