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Lib Dems want to scrap PCCs in light of station closures

Ahead of the upcoming elections, the Liberal Democrats have revealed figures on the number of station closures and put forward their own plan to get rid of PCCs

The Lib Dems have said that 217 stations and police counters have closed between 2015 and 2021. 

Averaging at 31 closures per year, the figures based partly on FoI requests equate to roughly one site closing every two weeks. 

London and the South East have been pinpointed as having seen a “staggering fall” in numbers and Thames Valley alone has closed 23 stations and 44 counters across the time period. 

Figures revealed last month also showed that 140 stations and offices have been shut across Scotland since the creation of the national force in 2013. 

The party's three-point plan would include scrapping PCCs and putting the resultant £50 million savings into frontline policing. 

Other political pledges include restoring “proper community policing” and investing an extra £500 million a year in youth services via local authorities. 

Lib Dem leader Sir Ed Davey said: “Shuttered police stations have become a symbol of the Conservatives’ failure on crime. Too many people feel unsafe on their own streets, and too many criminals are getting away with it.

“The Liberal Democrats are calling for a return to proper community policing, where officers are visible, trusted and focused on cutting crime.

A Home Office spokesperson said: “The Government is already over halfway to recruiting an additional 20,000 additional police officers and the police are being given the powers, tools and funding they need to cut crime.

“It is the responsibility of locally elected police and crime commissioners and chief constables to take decisions around their resourcing and estates.

“However, police stations – which remain one of many methods where incidents can be reported – should be kept open where possible to ensure people feel safe in their communities.”

At the start of the year, the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners (APCC) pushed to re-open stations in spite of budget pressures and the demand to shift to online reporting of crime. It was seen as the first time PCCs set a “policy u-turn”. The Home Office, however, are under pressure from the Treasury to seel public sector sites. 

New buildings and stations are popping up nonetheless, with Bedfordshire last week opening a new custody block and Hampshire opening a new response and patrol base. 

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