Beds PCC to commit more staff to desolate Dunstable Police Station

Dunstable Police Station currently costs �256,000 a year to run
Dunstable Police Station currently costs �256,000 a year to run

Dunstable Police Station will be brought back to life with staff from across the county being redistributed to the town, it has been confirmed.

In a letter to South West Beds MP Andrew Selous, Police and Crime Commissioner Olly Martins outlined developments on his ‘estates strategy’ for the force, in a bid to drive down building costs, which stand at £3million a year.

Despite long-standing fears that the West Street station would be in line for the chop, Mr Martins said that the base will be utilised more effectively by the force.

Plans include the relocation of staff to the station from stations in Bedford (Greyfriars), Luton and Kempston (Beds Police HQ).

Mr Martins wrote: “It is in a prime location to cope with anticipated residential growth and houses the force’s reserve custody capacity.

“It is therefore intended to decant staff from Greyfriars, Luton and HQ to fully utilise the building.”

Currently the station, which costs £256,000 a year to run, is used at 15 per cent of its capacity.

Mr Selous welcomed the announcement as “great news” for the town.

He said: “At the moment the station feels like the Mary Celeste, there is not a lot going on there at all.

“This has left the building looking tired and as a result a lot of litter has built up around the front of the station which is something I really dislike.”

It was first announced in October 2012 that officers would no longer operate out of Dunstable Police Station and though this has not changed, Mr Selous believes extra police staff will have benefits for Dunstable.

He said: “Even if just coming and going from the station police staff will be obliged to step in if they see crime occurring.

“Also more staff at the building will have knock-on effects for traders, more people to stop in town for lunch or to pick up a coffee.”

Mr Martins told the Gazette: “We are having a strategic look at the use of estates across the force to bring down costs and find the best ways to use what we have.

“Currently we are not making the best use of Dunstable Police Station, therefore it is appropriate to move some of our staff there.”

He added: “Our public consultation found that given the choice, the majority of respondents (88 per cent) would prefer for more of the budget to be spent on visible police and less on keeping local police stations open.

“As it happens I don’t think we need to close any stations/reduce opening hours, but it does support the proposal to use resources more efficiently and halve from six per cent to three per cent the proportion of the budget spent on estates.”