Police presence concerns in Chard and Ilminster

PC Andy Stuart.

PC Andy Stuart.

First published in News This is The West Country: Photograph of the Author by

CONCERNS over the police presence in Chard and Ilminster were raised at town council meetings this week.

In Chard, residents aired worries about a reduction in the number of PCSOs from six to three and the closure of the station, which underwent a £400,000 revamp in 2009.

Ilminster Police Station, off The Butts, will close next autumn and PC Andy Stuart told a meeting it is hoped the new base will be at the back of the fire station, in Blackdown View.

He said: “If that were to fail, then I have been assured we will still be based in the town.”

The move is part of an Avon and Somerset Police restructure which starts on July 28.

Chard Police Station will close and move elsewhere in the town in 2016/17 and Crewkerne Police Station will shut in 2017/18 and move to another base.

The News understands a new South-East Custody Centre, slightly smaller than the three police centres built in Patchway, Bridgwater and Keynsham, will be built near Yeovil.

A spokesman for Avon and Somerset Police said: “The plans are for a centralised custody suite. This will replace the current custody provision at Yeovil Police Station.

“There will be 12 cells at the new centre, replacing the 11 at Yeovil, and is being designed with the potential to expand to 24 cells should it be required at a later date. There are no plans for any further police station closures related to the opening of the custody centre.”

Sergeant Rob Jameson said if the South-East Custody Centre was built, he believes it would be closer to the Chard, Ilminster and Crewkerne area than the custody suites in Yeovil are at the moment, so that a new centre would be an improvement.

He added: “A lot more non-violent criminals, such as shoplifters and possession of drugs, are dealt with now without arrest, so do not have to go to a custody unit.”

Comments (1)

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11:27pm Fri 16 May 14

orchardman says...

As I said recently on a similar subject, with the proposed expansions of Chard, ilminster and Crewkerne, whilst there is no harm in reducing police properties in the area, surely, at the same time, there must be some thought given to increasing police numbers to allow for the relevant major increase in the population, not just for crime, but all the associated police duties. As for the custody suites being located to Yeovil, I wonder how many members of the public realise that it is not just a case of driving to Yeovil and dropping the prisoner off. They also have to process them which can be a time consuming business, before driving back to their patch. Out of hours, due to the paucity of police at the best of times, will probably mean no police presence in the aforementioned towns for a considerable period of time. This is fact, not fiction, as an acquaintance of mine who works in a home counties control room is often 'scratching round' to find officers to deal with incidents, and I'm sure across the country they are not alone, despite assurances from PCC's and government all is 'hunky dory'. Sleep well!.
As I said recently on a similar subject, with the proposed expansions of Chard, ilminster and Crewkerne, whilst there is no harm in reducing police properties in the area, surely, at the same time, there must be some thought given to increasing police numbers to allow for the relevant major increase in the population, not just for crime, but all the associated police duties. As for the custody suites being located to Yeovil, I wonder how many members of the public realise that it is not just a case of driving to Yeovil and dropping the prisoner off. They also have to process them which can be a time consuming business, before driving back to their patch. Out of hours, due to the paucity of police at the best of times, will probably mean no police presence in the aforementioned towns for a considerable period of time. This is fact, not fiction, as an acquaintance of mine who works in a home counties control room is often 'scratching round' to find officers to deal with incidents, and I'm sure across the country they are not alone, despite assurances from PCC's and government all is 'hunky dory'. Sleep well!. orchardman
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