Yarm Police Office in Yarm High Street
Police and Crime Commissioner for Cleveland Barry Coppinger, is announcing the decision to close Yarm Police Office, following a recommendation from the Force.
Alternative provision is being made in Yarm for regular beat surgeries in the library on a trial basis and social media sites have also been set up.
It comes as a footfall survey revealed that more people used the office to ask for travel directions rather than to report crime.
The move will save almost £19,000 per year in running costs and lease, and is part of a wider review of the Cleveland Police estate.
Barry Coppinger and Neighbourhood Chief Inspector Chris Downes attended a meeting of Yarm town council last night to discuss the closure and explain the circumstances and local ward councillors and the local MP have been informed.
Barry Coppinger said: "I have carefully considered the proposals around Yarm Police Office and I do not underestimate the significance of this for local residents.
"Discussions around the closure of police buildings are always going to be difficult and emotive. But the science behind the proposal is that the building is not being used as it should and we can ill afford to ignore that if we want to work smarter and more effectively.
"Sadly because of the government cuts imposed on the Force, I am now in a position where I have to choose buildings or people, and as I have given a commitment to maintaining and developing neighbourhood policing, the choice will be people every time.
In the footfall study from January 2013 until June 2013, there were 596 visits to the police station - with only 90 to report crime. 100 were to ask for directions, 82 for parking issues and parking discs and 62 visits to get telephone numbers. The remainder were for other reasons including deliveries, lost property, and contractors.
Deputy Chief Constable Iain Spittal said: "A key thing to remember is that we don’t police from Yarm Police Office. The Integrated Neighbourhood Team covering Yarm starts and finishes its shift from Thornaby.
"I can assure residents and businesses that policing levels in Yarm will not alter, and our officers will continue to attend residents’ meetings and town council meetings as usual, as well as policing the night-time economy and other events.
"I am also exploring alternative locations with the fire service and local authority which our officers could use as a drop-in location if residents and businesses require this.
"The ways in which we interact with the public is changing, thanks to advances in technology and particularly the increase in the use of social media, so we need to ensure that the communications channels we use meet the requirements of our communities.
"The Force remains absolutely committed to neighbourhood policing, but our neighbourhood officers do not sit behind desks waiting for people to enter a building.
"Their office is the streets, where they are out and about speaking to communities and dealing with crime alongside detectives. Our true assets are not bricks and mortar, they are our people."
Letter from the PCC to Stakeholders regarding Yarm Police Office - 9 April 2014
Report on the Use of Yarm Police Office - 9 April 2014
Posted on Wednesday 9th April 2014