Police commissioner sets out vision for 2013
SIX weeks into his new role, the first Hampshire crime commissioner has given the Post an insight into his vision for policing in East Hampshire.
Simon Hayes said local police stations are still set to close, police council tax likely to rise, officers could be stationed in shops, and Petersfield Streetwatch is worth supporting.
Formerly the chair of the disbanded Police Authority, he was elected Police Crime Commissioner in November.
This month he is meeting Petersfield Streetwatch members after the collapse of the national scheme left local groups in disarray, and worried about police backing and future funding.
Mr Hayes said: “I am keen to meet them as streetwatch is a valuable asset, as is all voluntary help and time given to the police. It is something that is welcomed and I will encourage schemes across the area.
“However there is a cost involved in training, kit and equipment, which can’t be ignored.”
Among his many responsibilities, he oversees police buildings, will be recruiting a new top officer after Hampshire Chief Constable Alex Marshall was appointed chief executive of the new national College of Policing, and decides where police money is spent.
Mr Hayes said: “The draft budget for the next year is being finalised, and it looks probable the police part of the council tax will go up by two per cent. It hasn’t gone up for two years, and government funding for Hampshire Police has been reduced. It’s a balance between cost reductions and keeping residents safe.”
Mr Hayes is also looking to see if there is a need to change current policies, such as the closure of police stations, including Petersfield and Whitehill.
He said: “Each police building is being looked at to see if it suits the community its in. Ideally officers need to be accessible to the public, such as in the high street. There’s no point in having a police station that’s not used. We also have to question whether an officer presence is needed in every area.
“But for the moment things will remain as they are.”
And as the role of local policing evolves, it appears cells and big buildings in each town will no longer be needed – just office space and parking.
At the moment Alton police station is the nearest one with cells, but as has already happened at Petersfield and Whitehill, they look likely to be taken out of use.
Mr Hayes said: “We want to increase custody capacity and for East and North Hampshire a new purpose built custody suite near Basingstoke is being considered.”
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Weather for Petersfield
Friday 06 December 2013
Temperature: 1 C to 6 C
Wind Speed: 14 mph
Wind direction: West
Temperature: 6 C to 9 C
Wind Speed: 13 mph
Wind direction: West