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CONTROVERSIAL changes to Crowthorne's police force will go into action next month despite mounting protests from residents.

As of Monday, February 18, around 10 of Crowthorne's police officers will move to Bracknell police station, leaving five beat bobbies and one sector sergeant to man the area.

All other police officers covering the Crowthorne and Sandhurst area will start and finish their day at Bracknell.

Police hope the move will create a sense of unity within the police force and give more officers a greater overall knowledge of areas they would not normally cover.

But Terry Streat, tenant of the High Street-based Crowthorne Inn, has slammed the move as "ridiculous".

He added: "The residents were not told about this. It is absolutely stupid and if people know there are less police in Crowthorne then I am sure crime will rise."

Crowthorne's parish councillors have also admitted to having reservations about the new changes.

But Cllr Jim Finnie has assured residents the council will do its utmost to monitor the changes through its newly-formed Parish Council and Police Liaison Committee.

And Insp Shaun Virtue, of Bracknell police, has reassured residents the changes will not affect the standard of policing in Crowthorne.

Insp Virtue, who will be one of the additional beat officer's taking over the Crowthorne area, said the changes would actually improve response times and greatly benefit Crowthorne residents.

Once the changes are put in place, Crowthorne will be covered by five beat bobbies - there are currently three - and one sector sergeant. But all officers based at Bracknell will also be available to Crowthorne and Sandhurst if additional back-up is required.

Crowthorne and Sandhurst will also have its own patrol car which will come from Bracknell.

Insp Virtue added: "I am adamant the standard of policing will not go down - the only difference will be they will start and finish at Bracknell.

"The changes fit in with the whole ethos of the police which is to make us more visible to the public.

"I will be working closely with the Parish Council so we can monitor what is going on with Crowthorne public, and we will be monitored by another inspector to ensure the new system is working."

Insp Virtue also gave his reassurance that the police station would remain open and there were no plans for its closure.


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