Neil Guild, Labour Parliamentary Candidate for Taunton Deane, responding to the announcement by Avon and Somerset police that half of their traditional police stations will be closing over the next five years, said:
These cuts to police stations in Somerset follow the previous announcement of the closure of the main police station in Taunton. I am concerned that a town like Taunton, of over 50,000 people, can be left without a police station with custody suites, and that there is still no clear plan in place for the replacement police station in 2015. It is also a cause of concern that under the plans announced large areas of rural Somerset will in future be without a permanent, local police presence.
While it may be sensible, due to the deep cuts imposed by the coalition government, to look at reducing the number of buildings that are occupied by the police, and to try and share facilities with other public bodies, there is a danger in attempting to manage policing from distant, centralised police hubs. How much police time will now be spent driving those in custody between the suites in Bridgwater and the magistrates’ court in Taunton and elsewhere in the county?
There have been hard won gains in the reduction of crime over the past 30 years by successive governments. While there are many elements that contributed to that success one key component was well resourced and community focused policing. I fear that approach is now in jeopardy due to the scale of these cuts.