Two police stations to be revamped and a new one built as eight in the Black Country close
One new police station is set to be built in the Black Country and two others revamped as part a plan that will also see another eight close.
Wolverhampton’s Bilston Street police station and West Bromwich’s New Street station will be refurbished.
While Brierley Hill Police Station, which is the headquarters for the Dudley neighbourhood, will be rebuilt under an estate strategy by West Midlands Police.
The planned work has come to light in a proposal to close 24 stations across the West Midlands, including eight in the Black Country, saving the force £5 million a year. The money will go toward the work on the new and existing stations, which could cost up to £56m.
The force has said the sale of the 24 stations will protect 100 police officer posts.
The proposal is to be considered by West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson tomorrow.
He said: “West Midlands Police’s plans protect the number of publicly accessible front desks in the Black Country and across the whole West Midlands.
“It is also important that staff have modern facilities to help tackle emerging crimes, whilst saving money to protect police officer posts.
“I am reviewing the Chief Constable’s estates proposals. I will make a decision after scrutinising them in public tomorrow.”
In a report on the estates programme by head of police property Andy Kelly said the strategy will provide a ‘fit-for-purpose, modern’ estate and improved working conditions for police staff.
He added: “The new revised strategy will mean there are 24 sites that are no longer needed by the force to deliver policing across the West Midlands.Coupled with improved running efficiency of the refurbished retained estate the disposal of these sites is expected to show a reduction in annual revenue costs of £5m.Some of the police’s larger police buildings have occupancy rates between 10 and 30 per cent.
“Therefore the current arrangements are an inefficient use of public money.”
The police stations to close under the plan are Aldridge, Oldbury, Wednesfield, Tipton, Smethwick, Wednesbury, Sedgley and Bilston’s Prouds Lane station.
Wolverhampton MP Emma Reynolds has raised concerns. She said: “West Midlands Police are struggling. They have already lost over 2,000 police officers and their budget has been slashed by the Tory government.
“One suggestion to save money is to close some police stations and one of those is our local station in Wednesfield. It is tough for the police and they have difficult decisions to make. At a time when crime is rising is this the right thing to do?”
She called for the consultation to be extended.