Worthing police headquarters could be closed

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At a meeting at Sussex Police headquarters, in Lewes on Monday, chief constable Martin Richards said Sussex Police was considering closing the building in Centenary House, Durrington.

If the plans are approved, the building would be sold and replaced with either smaller or shared facilities, though the custody suite would remain open.

Access to the facilities would change so members of the public would no longer be able to walk in off the street without booking an appointment first.

Mr Richards said Sussex Police had conducted research which showed footfall had fallen in police stations and people now thought quick response times and improved internet and telephone services were more important.

He said the closure of some of the larger police stations in Sussex, which could also include Hove and Eastbourne, would save Sussex Police £2million.

“Instead of large, expensive, inconveniently-located police stations, I want to put in place smaller, more local and cheaper alternatives that are more convenient for the public.

“For example, we can save money on buildings while being easier to access by sharing facilities with councils or other local partners.”

Closing the building is one of the proposals that will be considered at a Sussex Police Authority meeting on May 26. A decision will also be made on whether to introduce Regulation A19, which would enable Sussex Police to force staff with 30 years of service or more to retire.

This regulation, if introduced, would help Sussex Police to reach its target of cutting 75 members of staff across the county this year and 550, including 500 police officers, over the next five years.

So far, 300 staff members have left Sussex Police under its voluntary reundancy sceheme.

Mr Richards said the advantage of Regulation A19 would be the reversal of a force-wide recruitment freeze, which was introduced several months ago.

He added: “These are considerable changes that are being implemented across the force.

“But throughout this period of change we are still policing and we are still getting the results the public demands.”