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Reader's letter: Putting the case for relocation

Being a local resident, I happened across Mr Waddington’s letter (No Case For Relocation, News Views, July 29) and felt compelled to respond as Chief Constable.

Firstly the estimated savings on an annual basis are based upon building running costs, rates, energy use, the age of the building and its maintenance schedules.

Put very simply, the domestic cost comparison would be running a large five-bedroom detached house versus a two-bed semi.

Secondly, I address the issue of regeneration in my local town. The police have a role to play in working with Newark and Sherwood District Council in trying to make the area as attractive, safe and business/leisure/family friendly as it can.

That is a laudable aim which I support from a policing perspective as a strategic partner.

Thirdly the station is under-utilised. It has been from the day I started in post.

It is entirely my decision operationally where I post my officers to, however, I must share with Mr Waddington a small tale from an old Superintendent who worked at Newark in the 1990s who confided in me that ‘it was far too big when they built it Chief Constable’.

It’s my job to make sure that I’m maximising efficiencies as we still have more to save over the next three to four years and it does not take a genius to work out that future national financial settlements may well be challenging post-covid.

My aim is to maximise the number of officers and staff and to realise every efficiency I can from bricks. I balance that with never wanting to leave a local town or reduce the service we offer.

Fourthly, in relation to opening hours for the front desk, I have never closed one during my tenure.

Simple facts demonstrate that most people do not walk-in these days, most contact us by telephone or e-mail. However, I believe a local facility with easy access is an essential part of what many of us would seek as residents.

The proposed new building will have exactly the same front desk facility. In addition it would be part of a one-stop-shop for residents as other agencies have contact points there.

The old humbug of the railway crossing needs addressing too as I sense Mr Waddington’s argument supposes all officers and staff spend 100% of their time in the building. We patrol all over the neighbourhood, all of the time as do specialist teams.

Operationally, I am satisfied the location of Castle House would work well for the police. On the rare occasion a railway barrier may be stuck, we will still be able to deploy our resources to serve the public, of that I have no doubt.

In summary, the relocation case is certainly made out and rest assured that as Chief Constable and as a resident I will always be looking to spend public money wisely with my approach of ‘less square feet and more on the beat’.

I have only ever increased resources at Newark and wherever operationally possible will continue to do so as I balance all of the resources across the force which I am required to do under the law. ­— CRAIG GUILDFORD, Chief Constable.

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