U-turn could be possible over future of Haverhill police station

Superintendent Andrew Mason and Suffolk Police and Crime Comissioner Tim Passmore at the meeting with councillors in Haverhill. Picture: John Burns ANL-160223-131757001
Superintendent Andrew Mason and Suffolk Police and Crime Comissioner Tim Passmore at the meeting with councillors in Haverhill. Picture: John Burns ANL-160223-131757001

The closure of Haverhill Police Station to the public could be reversed if evidence is there to support keeping it open.

Last December is was announced that as part of the Suffolk Local Policing Review, the front desk at the station in Merton Slade would be one of 15 in the county to close as the Constabulary looked to find £20.5 million savings on its budget up to 2020, a figure since cut to £7.5m million.

However, at a meeting held last Thursday (18) at Haverhill Arts Centre between Superintendent Andrew Mason from the west Suffolk division, Suffolk Police and Crime Commissioner Tim Passmore and Haverhill town, borough and county councillors it was revealed that may not be the case - while there was also further good news for the town in terms of policing levels.

Mr Passmore told the meeting: “That is the decision at the moment in principle.

“What I can certainly tell you here today is that with the growth here in Haverhill if there was evidence that we really did need a front desk and we needed to make other arrangements for whatever reason, I can absolutely guarantee you that because one of the things I told the constabulary when we started out on these plans was ‘have you looked at the demographic changes that are likely to happen for the next five, ten, 15 years’.

“They assured me that they have, so whilst it is set out as a principle from April 1 if we find for whatever reason there is a huge change of difference in the market and we could find another way of doing these things about the front desk.

“Is there any possibility of having a part time front desk with volunteers manning it? We are looking into that at the moment.

“Don’t give up on that, do not despair.

“If there is a real upturn in demand it will be looked into again.

“These are not set in stone so the answer to your question is yes, we will look at it again.

“Things can be reversed. I’m not going to come here and say it will definitely be reversed but I’m definitely saying we will have a careful look at it.”

The meeting also learnt from Supt Mason that Inspector Peter Ferrie will move to Bury St Edmunds from April 4 and be replaced by Inspector Danny Cooper, who will continue to head up the Sudbury division while also taking charge of Haverhill.

Supt Mason said the move would benefit Haverhill as Insp Cooper will be 100 per cent dedicated to local, town policing, whereas Insp Ferrie is currently a Duty Inspector so can be called away to cover other posts.

Supt Mason added that the Haverhill response team will stay at one sergeant and four constables for each team and those at the meeting also learned that the station’s room and officer dedicated to helping domestic violence victims will be retained.

Asked if Haverhill will see an overall reduction in police officers, Mr Passmore said: “You will get your fair share of policing and officers.

“I can’t give you specific numbers for understandable reasons but we will definitely know that before the start of the next financial year.

“Overall you will getting your fair share of policing and, overall, there will not be a decline.”