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Temporary move to Priory for Thatcham police



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New base found in town centre but wardens will have to work from Newbury Police Station

THATCHAM's policing team will be given a temporary daytime base at The Priory in the town centre.

West Berkshire police commander, Supt Robin Rickard, made the announcement at a town council meeting on Monday.

The police station in Chapel Street is to close because it is too small for the team of 13 officers who use it.

Officers will now use the town council-owned Priory, Church Lane, to do their paperwork, while a more permanent town centre base is sought.

On Monday, the councillors questioned Supt Rickard about how the change could affect both the people in the town and the organisations that work closely with the police, such as the town council and neighbourhood wardens.

They also sought reassurance that the standard of policing in the town would not slip.

Supt Rickard said that since the closure had been announced, the feedback he had received from members of the public had been pretty positive, but said that everyone had different concerns.

Town councillor Owen Jeffery (Lib Dem, Thatcham South and Crookham) queried how the neighbourhood wardens, who are currently based at the police station in Thatcham, would be

affected.

“I want assurances that the police are looking very seriously at how they are maintaining a good service in Thatcham,” he said.

Supt Rickard replied: “That's my desire, to enhance the service.

“For me, it's about doing things differently, rather than stopping doing things.”

Supt Rickard also said that he would be looking into having extra vehicles for officers to make the transition more easily, and so that officers could make best use of their time out on the beat.

Town and district councillor Richard Crumly (Con, Thatcham Central) asked whether the neighbourhood wardens would be able to share the Priory facility with the police.

He said: “They are a very local resource and one would like to see them with a base to be able to be deployed.”

Supt Rickard said that he had asked for a base for the wardens to be found in Thatcham, but could not promise that this would happen.

Until then, he said, wardens would be housed at Newbury police station.

Thatcham police station has been closed to the public since 2002, and Supt Robin Rickard said it was inevitable that the building, a converted house, would eventually have had to close, regardless of budget cuts, because it had been the subject of a number of reports regarding health and safety issues over the past decade.



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