Question mark hangs over closure of Chard and Ilminster police stations

This is The West Country: The police station in Chard. The police station in Chard.

LEADERS in Chard and Ilminster fear crime could rise if police stations across the area are closed.

Nick Gargan, chief constable of Avon and Somerset Police, said no stations are safe as the force looks to make savings of £8million in 2014/15.

It means the future of stations in Chard and Ilminster are uncertain as police bosses continue their review into resources.

Deputy Mayor of Chard Garry Shortland said closure of the town’s station would be “devastating.”

He added: “Chard has a bigger population than Ilminster, so I think if they close any they would close Ilminster.

“Any station closing in a town would be a devastating blow to its people, especially losing the safety aspect.

“There are certain types of people in the population that are more prone to needing more reassurance than others.”

As reported in the News last week, 134 police officers will lose their jobs over the next 12 months but it is not yet known in which areas.

More than 60 of those will be police constables – and more could go next year after Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens said £12-15million would have to be saved in 2015/16.

Nine custody suites are closing across the force area and officers are looking at closing “middle-sized, under used” stations. Ch Con Gargan said no station is exempt from possible closure.

Mayor of Ilminster Emma Jane Taylor said it is important frontline officers are retained across the town.

She said: “No community will want to lose its police station. However, it is more important that we retain our police men and women.

“After all, they are the ones who engage with the public – they are the ones who responded to 999/101 calls, not the stations.”

A spokesman for Avon and Somerset Police said a decision is yet to be made but it is looking at all possible options.

Comments (8)

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9:50am Wed 12 Feb 14

petra60 says...

I was under the impression that Chard police station was already closed, having visited the station three times over a period of about 18months, and always a note on the door to attend Crewkerne station (and when we arrived at crewkerne that also as closed with a note on the door to travel to Yeovil) as shortage of staff meant they were unable to open Chard for the present time.
I was under the impression that Chard police station was already closed, having visited the station three times over a period of about 18months, and always a note on the door to attend Crewkerne station (and when we arrived at crewkerne that also as closed with a note on the door to travel to Yeovil) as shortage of staff meant they were unable to open Chard for the present time. petra60
  • Score: 2

9:51am Wed 12 Feb 14

mgm2001 says...

Quote fron Chard and Ilminster dated 4th February 2009
" CHARD Police Station in Millfield has re-opened after a seven-month refurbishment in a move that will put more officers back on the beat.
The station now has its own custody suite to allow proceedings to take place in Chard instead of in Yeovil – saving valuable time for officers. Inspector Andy Pritchard said: “It will mean a huge reduction in travelling times for officers on duty..
Ultimately, this means that soon we will see an increase in officers on patrol in this area."
“There will also be a duty sergeant at Chard police station at all times.”

Chard Police Station was closed for 7 months for a major refurbishment in 2008/2009.at a cost of who knows what.. Did the above "improvements" ever make any diffence, and if everything said has been implemented, surely it should be kept open.
Quote fron Chard and Ilminster dated 4th February 2009 " CHARD Police Station in Millfield has re-opened after a seven-month refurbishment in a move that will put more officers back on the beat. The station now has its own custody suite to allow proceedings to take place in Chard instead of in Yeovil – saving valuable time for officers. Inspector Andy Pritchard said: “It will mean a huge reduction in travelling times for officers on duty.. Ultimately, this means that soon we will see an increase in officers on patrol in this area." “There will also be a duty sergeant at Chard police station at all times.” Chard Police Station was closed for 7 months for a major refurbishment in 2008/2009.at a cost of who knows what.. Did the above "improvements" ever make any diffence, and if everything said has been implemented, surely it should be kept open. mgm2001
  • Score: 3

6:04am Thu 13 Feb 14

M Artian says...

The people of Chard should make a storm of protest if there is any attempt to close the Police Station. A town of 12,000 people needs a police presence. We have druggies, we have paedophiles, we have stuff nicked and drunken behaviour (like any town). Closing the station would leave us totally unprotected and would be a criminals charter. We cannot allow this to happen and if it does I would urge people to withhold paying their rates in protest. When I was affected as a victim a car was sent from Wincanton ! The villain got clean away to look for their next target.
The people of Chard should make a storm of protest if there is any attempt to close the Police Station. A town of 12,000 people needs a police presence. We have druggies, we have paedophiles, we have stuff nicked and drunken behaviour (like any town). Closing the station would leave us totally unprotected and would be a criminals charter. We cannot allow this to happen and if it does I would urge people to withhold paying their rates in protest. When I was affected as a victim a car was sent from Wincanton ! The villain got clean away to look for their next target. M Artian
  • Score: 6

2:38pm Fri 14 Feb 14

mar g says...

surely with the population we now have in chard we need the station for the protection for all the people that now live here ..we need more police walking on the beat not just in cars ,!!!! my one complaint is that whenever you go past the station there are always about eight to ten police cars parked there but no police anywhere around the town ...
surely with the population we now have in chard we need the station for the protection for all the people that now live here ..we need more police walking on the beat not just in cars ,!!!! my one complaint is that whenever you go past the station there are always about eight to ten police cars parked there but no police anywhere around the town ... mar g
  • Score: 0

4:48pm Fri 14 Feb 14

Jimsainsbury says...

I am under the impression that Ilminster Police Station is closed. It is only used as a canteen for passing police officers. If you call there you will have to use the phone by the door to phone Portishead. I think the Ilminster beat officer works out of Crewkerne, unless someone can tell me otherwise.
Should we not return to the days of the Dr Who police box in all towns rather than have all the staff and vehicles in Chard. I know the number of officers is reducing but if we are to see them spread thinly why not evenly?
I am under the impression that Ilminster Police Station is closed. It is only used as a canteen for passing police officers. If you call there you will have to use the phone by the door to phone Portishead. I think the Ilminster beat officer works out of Crewkerne, unless someone can tell me otherwise. Should we not return to the days of the Dr Who police box in all towns rather than have all the staff and vehicles in Chard. I know the number of officers is reducing but if we are to see them spread thinly why not evenly? Jimsainsbury
  • Score: 1

11:11pm Fri 14 Feb 14

orchardman says...

Bearing in mind the proposed large residential developments in both Chard and Ilminster, the not too distant future (when the the various parties in Ilminster finish playing Ping-Pong with its location), it seems surprising that there is a proposal to close either station. There IS a need for a police presence in the area, other than PCSO's 'cruising', and if anything is to be done, why not close Chard, and bring Ilminster up to standard since it's got better access, and doesn't suffer from the summer traffic congestion or the twice daily industrial sites rush hour, and also gives good access to the A303 and surrounding areas.. Despite the powers that be, both at national and local level claiming crime is falling, those of us at the sharp end living in the real world, know that this is because over the last few years due to the severe cuts in police numbers, they are losing faith in the system and a lot of minor crime simply isn't being reported, not to mention the alleged 'massaging' of the figures to give the 'right results.
Bearing in mind the proposed large residential developments in both Chard and Ilminster, the not too distant future (when the the various parties in Ilminster finish playing Ping-Pong with its location), it seems surprising that there is a proposal to close either station. There IS a need for a police presence in the area, other than PCSO's 'cruising', and if anything is to be done, why not close Chard, and bring Ilminster up to standard since it's got better access, and doesn't suffer from the summer traffic congestion or the twice daily industrial sites rush hour, and also gives good access to the A303 and surrounding areas.. Despite the powers that be, both at national and local level claiming crime is falling, those of us at the sharp end living in the real world, know that this is because over the last few years due to the severe cuts in police numbers, they are losing faith in the system and a lot of minor crime simply isn't being reported, not to mention the alleged 'massaging' of the figures to give the 'right results. orchardman
  • Score: 0

1:18pm Mon 17 Feb 14

M Artian says...

Unhelpful and illogical comments by Orchardman. You want a police presence in a Town of 5,800 souls, but none in a Town of over twice that size? By the same reasoning maybe you think London's Met. should be disbanded? You also say in the same sentence that crime is falling, but that its increasing because of non-reporting and massaging. ???
Unhelpful and illogical comments by Orchardman. You want a police presence in a Town of 5,800 souls, but none in a Town of over twice that size? By the same reasoning maybe you think London's Met. should be disbanded? You also say in the same sentence that crime is falling, but that its increasing because of non-reporting and massaging. ??? M Artian
  • Score: 1

10:21pm Mon 17 Feb 14

orchardman says...

Dear M Artian, you miss my point inasmuch my argument is not based so much on the relative population of the two towns - I fully agree that Chard is obviously much larger than Ilminster - but on the logistical location regarding access to the A303 and surrounding areas of the 'patch', Ilminster would be the better location, particularly during the holiday season, though still maintaining a presence, such as it is at the moment, in Chard. Let's face it, both stations in their current form are little more than rest rooms. The promises made back in 2009 have long faded into history. As for reported crime figures, the reporting, logging, and statistical analysis of these are such that it is doubtful if anyone really knows the true figure, and obviously the government of the day want us to believe that the savage cuts within the police service are having no effect.
Dear M Artian, you miss my point inasmuch my argument is not based so much on the relative population of the two towns - I fully agree that Chard is obviously much larger than Ilminster - but on the logistical location regarding access to the A303 and surrounding areas of the 'patch', Ilminster would be the better location, particularly during the holiday season, though still maintaining a presence, such as it is at the moment, in Chard. Let's face it, both stations in their current form are little more than rest rooms. The promises made back in 2009 have long faded into history. As for reported crime figures, the reporting, logging, and statistical analysis of these are such that it is doubtful if anyone really knows the true figure, and obviously the government of the day want us to believe that the savage cuts within the police service are having no effect. orchardman
  • Score: 0

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