Aldershot's police station will definitely be sold and staff potentially relocated to the library or the old town hall.
Hampshire’s police and crime commissioner Simon Hayes revealed at a Police and Crime Panel meeting that the PCC office was working with Hampshire Constabulary to come up with some suitable locations where police officers could be based.
The old town hall, in Grosvenor Road, is currently occupied by the county council’s social services team, while the library contains rooms that are available to hire.
Speaking to the News & Mail after the meeting, Mr Hayes said: “It would need to have somewhere the police could function themselves and not be tiptoeing around. It wouldn’t be a desk next to a librarian.
“At the moment, the police station isn’t used properly. It’s not maintained and as a space isn’t efficient. We’re looking for a space that’s better for the public to come to.
“We need somewhere people can come and talk to the police. It’s what the building offers if you like.”
Hampshire Constabulary’s estates review is seeking to close stations around the county where space-sharing options are available, in a bid to save £50 million by 2015.
The force had previously refused to confirm that Aldershot’s station would be closing, but a discussion was forced after the matter was raised in questions at the meeting.
As part of the plans, new custody cells would be built in Basingstoke where a specific team would hold those arrested in the Aldershot area. It is argued that, in spite of the hour-long round trip, this would increase efficiency as officers would not need to wait with suspects while they are being detained.
Mr Hayes added: “Although we might be moving out of the current police station, we won’t be moving out of Aldershot. There is no question of that happening. We will sell it but we wouldn’t sell it until we knew where we were going.
“I know the public get concerned about police stations being sold but they don’t read what is attached to that. We would be moving to somewhere else that has got better access.”
It was also revealed that a new front counter for police officers in Farnborough was being planned for the Rushmoor Borough Council offices. The safer neighbourhood team has been co-located in the offices since Farnborough police station closed last November, while Fleet’s station has also closed. Mr Hayes said the strategy of sharing spaces allowed the force to have a presence it may not otherwise be able to provide.
The aim is to finalise both options by the end of August, but Mr Hayes said setting a timescale was difficult.