Alison Hume, Labour’s Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner (PFCC) candidate for North Yorkshire has voiced serious concern over the closure of a third of North Yorkshire’s police stations over the last ten years. In a Freedom of Information disclosure, the force revealed 12 staffed stations were closed between February 2010 and February 2020 with Pately Bridge the latest station to be closed and sold off.
“This is extremely worrying,” said Ms Hume. “The conservative budget cuts not only led to the loss of twenty thousand police officers – who are now having to be recruited back into the service – but more than 600 police stations across the country have been closed so the police service can claw back the funds that have been slashed from their budgets.”
In the last 10 years 13 of the 43 stations in North Yorkshire have closed – all of them having had front counters.
“These stations play an important role within our communities,” Ms Hume said. “Most importantly, they make people feel safer – they offer a space for people to safely report crime as well as providing office space and comfort facilities for police officers. Their absence leaves a real hole in rural communities. Closing or reducing custody suites also means that suspects have to be transported further before being questioned or charged, incurring longer hours and stress on both the suspect and police officers involved.
“In addition officers are now often based some considerable distance from where a crime has been committed and by the time they arrive the perpetrator has long gone.
“The government says it believes in local policing accountable to local communities but the austerity measures over the last ten years have made this almost impossible to achieve. I worry it’s just a matter of time before all local police stations are closed meaning our relationship with law enforcers becomes ever more distant.
“As PFCC I’ll do all I can to maintain the stations we have and to enable officers to live and work in the communities they represent and protect.”