Revealed: Black Country police stations earmarked for the axe cost £1 million a year to run
Eight police stations in the Black Country earmarked for closure cost almost a £1 million a year to run, it has been revealed.
West Midlands police and crime commissioner (PCC) David Jamieson plans to shut 24 stations across the West Midlands. The scheme will save £5m, which will go toward protecting 100 officer posts, he said.
Stations to close in the region include Sedgley, Oldbury, Smethwick, Wednesbury, Aldridge and Wednesfield.
At a meeting of the policing and crime panel yesterday, Andy Kelly, head of fleet services, presented the proposal, marking the start of a consultation on the scheme with MPs, councillors and neighbourhood watch members.
The presentation revealed the annual costs for each station, including figures for heating, lights, business rates and cleaning.
Wednesfield costs £285,998 a year, Aldridge £221,758, Smethwick £217,724, Wednesbury £100,413, Sedgley £48,623, Tipton £45,703, Oldbury £43,238 and Prouds Lane in Bilston, £4,341 – meaning the total annual cost of the eight stations, none of which are open to the public, is £967,798.
Mr Kelly said: “These buildings are underutilised and haven’t necessarily got a lot of staff in them, but cost quite a lot to run.”
He added: “Over a number of years we have seen a shrinking of police officers and staff but not necessary in the size of the estate.
“So we have ended up at a point now where we have too much estate and it really is in very poor condition.”
Money from the sale of the buildings will go toward savings and the refurbishment of other parts of the police estate. Some buildings that remain will be knocked down and built again.
Sharing spaces with the fire service, NHS and councils is to be considered.
Mr Jamieson said: “After £145m cuts since 2010, and with the level of funding from the Government squeezed year on year, I am having to continue to find efficiencies to protect office numbers.
“The £5m annual savings proposed in this strategy will protect 100 police officer posts.”