Police could move in with council

Eastbourne Police Station
Eastbourne Police Station

EASTBOURNE’S police station could shut up shop and move in with the council to cut costs.

Plans are on the table for police, based in the Grove Road office, to move in to Eastbourne Borough Council’s new offices a few doors down at 1 Grove Road.

Police chiefs argue putting the police station up for sale and buddying up with the council will save money and improve the service for the community.

East Sussex Divisional Commander Chief Superintendent Robin Smith said, “It will enable people to access both police and council services from the one location, while also providing an opportunity to develop our partnership working with council employees, including housing officers, environmental health officers and the housing benefits team.”

The change of premises is part of Sussex Police’s estates review, scrutinising the use of large expensive and under-used police stations across the county.

Sussex Police needs to save £52 million by 2015.

Eastbourne police station scaled back the opening hours of its front desk this week to between 9am and 8pm Monday to Saturday, saving £2 million a year.

The police station is closed to the public on Sunday.

Eastbourne Chief Inspector Jayne Dando said most people now choose to contact the police over the phone or arrange appointments, rather than dropping in to Grove Road police station.

“We recognise some of our current buildings and processes were designed decades ago to serve an incredibly different world and the way people want to contact us is changing,” she said.

Police chiefs also sought to assure residents response times would not be affected, as this function already operates from the Hammonds Drive police station.

Staff in the town centre either work for the Neighbourhood Policing team or on the front counter.

Sussex Police said they would find alternative work places for the remaining staff from the Grove Road premises.

Councillor David Tutt, leader of Eastbourne Borough Council, said positive discussions were ongoing and he would welcome the opportunity for council services to work closer more closely with the police.

“This solution will safeguard the delivery of a number of key police services in the town including a walk in reception giving the public access to the police, and a base for the Neighbourhood Police Team,” he said.

The move is yet to be agreed, but will be discussed by the council in the summer.