Will Marlborough police station close? Commissioner doesn’t say yes… but doesn’t say no either
The future of Marlborough’s police station still looks uncertain this week, following the launch of the latest force initiative.
The East Wiltshire Community Policing Team was launched on Monday (October 17). Officers now receive an intelligence briefing at their ‘designated base location’ before going out on their shifts.
For Marlborough officers, this base is Devizes.
Marlborough News Online asked Wiltshire Police whether this meant the police station would be closing.
The inquiry was referred to Wiltshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Angus Macpherson, who told us: “As soon as these joint briefings are finished, all officers and staff will be back out in their beat areas, policing local issues.
"This means staff and officers will still be working in local communities.”
““My investment in better technology will take our service to the next level, allowing staff and officers to work more remotely so they can be more visible in their community.
"They have access to 4G laptops and smartphones, meaning they are no longer tied to their desks and will be able to catch up on paperwork while working in the community.”
It’s not a yes, but it’s not a no either. In fact, it’s what you might call a 'politician’s response'. So what about the future of the phsical police station?
“I am reviewing all the estate and working closely with other public sector partners to share facilities where we can. Officers obviously need facilities in their working area, but this may not mean we need a dedicated police building with no other public use or access.
“Sharing public buildings not only saves the Force money, but provides a more visible and accessible service.
“I would like policing to be visible, working in locations such as town halls, libraries and cafes, as well as areas where we know a police presence would act as a deterrent to issues such as anti-social behaviour.
“No decisions around estates, including the future of police stations, have yet been made, but I will update the public once this happens and will be consulting with the public as community policing is rolled-out, welcoming feedback.”
Marlborough Police Station has already seen its front counter service hours cut. In November 2015 police announced a new regime at seven police stations across the force area, in a bid to save £10m over three years.
Marlborough residents can currently access services between 9am and 5pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays (closed from 12.45pm to 1.15pm) and from 9am until 12.30am on Wednesdays.
Of course, there are other ways to contact the police, from the trusty 999 service to social media platforms including Facebook and Twitter.
And, to be fair, it’s not like policing is the only service to abandon bricks and mortar in favour of remote working.
Twenty years ago – when Marlborough Police Station was upgraded to include high-security cells capable of holding the UK’s most dangerous criminals – the town had two local newspaper offices. Now it has none.