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Thatcham police station to close

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Officer responsible for West Berkshire policing insists levels of police patrols in the town will not decrease

THATCHAM police station is set to close permanently, it has been announced this morning (Monday).

The head of West Berkshire police, Supt Robin Rickard, announced the decision in a press conference in Newbury earlier today and said that the reason for the closure of the building, which currently houses 13 police officers from the Thatcham neighbourhood policing team, is because it has been deemed unsuitable for their needs and too cramped.

The station has been closed to members of the public since 2002 and Supt Rickard said that it was inevitable that the building would have eventually had to close, regardless of the economic state of the country.

But, he said people living in Thatcham would not see any reduction in the level of policing in their area as a result of the force's decision, and that the only difference the town's residents would notice would be the sign coming off the police station building, which is in Chapel Street.

“What I'm confident about is there will be no diminishment in service,” he said.

“It's an opportunity for the police authority to sell off the building and reinvest it.

“I am determined there will not be a reduction in policing but better integration between neighbourhood teams; it will mean they will have better accommodation, better access to other police systems and support.

“I expect them to go out there at the start of their shifts and stay out there so there will not be a reduction in visible policing in Thatcham."

Supt Rickard said that in the coming months the 13 members of the neighbourhood policing team would be relocated to Newbury as their base, but that a space in Thatcham town centre was being sought for the officers, so that they will be able to continue to carry out paperwork in the area. He added that he expected the officers to be in the town from the start to the finish of their shifts.

The existing building in Chapel Street is to be sold off and reinvested back into police resources.

Supt Rickard said: “We have to find a different way of working but policing will remain unaltered.”

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