Proposals to close the police office in Clare have taken a further development with the announcement that rural officers could soon be starting their working days at Haverhill Police Station.
Currently two police constables and three police community support officers (PCSOs) from the St Edmundsbury Rural South Safer Neighbourhood Team (SNT) use the office in Harp Lane, Clare as a centre to work from, although it is not open to the public.
Suffolk Police announced a proposal last December to shut the office after the lease expires in five months time, saving £16,000 a year, subject to a period of public consultation.
Suffolk Police and Crime Commissioner Tim Passmore also revealed in January that talks were taking place with Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service over the potential of police officers holding drop-in sessions during the week in Clare Fire Station.
Inspector Peter Ferrie, the commanding officer for Haverhill and the Rural South SNTs, has now revealed proposals to have the Clare-based officers start their working days in Haverhill, where they would get briefed and then head out to their patch.
He said: “I don’t expect that most of the villages they are covered by, the 30 villages and Clare itself, will see any difference at all.
“I would like to offer my assurance that if these proposals do go ahead that the Rural SNT officers will not get drawn into dealing with Haverhill issues, even if they start in Haverhill and they would continue to spend their time dealing with purely rural issues.”
He also gave his support to the proposed changes, saying: “I believe it will mean the SNT staff will be better briefed and better tasked and be more effective in their roles.
“It’s been something I have wanted to happen in much of the three years that I’ve been in Haverhill and the reason it’s going to happen now is because it costs £16,000 a year to maintain the Clare police office and if they move to Haverhill that’s £16,000 we can save and put towards our budget reduction.”
Paul Bishop, chairman of Clare Town Council, said he understood the reasoning behind the proposals but wanted reassurances that the public would still be consulted.
He said: “At the moment I’ve been instructed by the town council to write to Tim Passmore to try and find out where we are.
“What I’m concerned about is that the consultation plan seems to have been dropped.”
Any comments about the proposed changes can be made by emailing Tim Passmore at firstname.lastname@example.org.