Police officers in Aldershot would be able to get back out on the beat quicker even if the closest cells to hold suspects were in Basingstoke, the force has insisted.
As part of Hampshire Constabulary’s estates review, Aldershot police station could be closed with safer neighbourhood team (SNT) officers relocated into the community and a new police investigation centre 27 miles away in Basingstoke dealing with arrests.
While it has not yet been confirmed whether Alder-shot’s station will close, it seems likely that, as part of the force’s programme launched last May, the large custody suite to be built off the M3 on the edge of Basingstoke will be where those arrested in north Hampshire are detained.
Although the prospect of officers having to make an hour round trip to drop off detainees has unnerved some, the force has stressed that the process would in fact be more efficient.
A spokesman overseeing the review said the teams would be specifically intended to fast track the process of dealing with detainees and accommodate them without the need for the officers who made the arrest to remain at the suite throughout the process, as they do currently.
“While they might need to drive from wherever they are to Basingstoke, they would still be able to get out quicker than if they were going to the current custody suites,” the spokesman said. “It would make processing quicker and allow officers to be on the front line more.”
Further public engagement on potential changes will make up the next stage of the estates review during the summer, although no dates or locations have yet been set. The spokesman said no decision to sell stations such as Aldershot’s would be made until suitable alternatives were found. This is likely to involve SNTs co-locating in other buildings.
One other result of the review is a change of opening times at Aldershot station, after feedback and data about visit times was gathered. From next week the station will remain open between 8am and 8pm Monday to Saturday, but will now open and close earlier on Sunday - from 9am to 5pm rather than 10am to 6pm. The station will remain closed between 2pm-2.45pm on Sundays and on bank holidays.