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Saturday, 23 May 2015

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Stations to close in police force cuts

THE number of police stations in Tynedale is to be slashed from six to just one as part of a major shake-up announced by Northumbria Police.

Police sign

Only the Hexham base will remain, while those in Prudhoe, Haltwhistle, Bellingham, Corbridge and Ponteland will close under proposals aimed at coping with Government funding cuts.

A total of 25 communities across the force area will lose their local station – five of them in Tynedale – along with a cull of 200 senior officer and 230 civilian staff posts.

Neighbourhood officers will instead work from cheaper buildings, such as libraries and village halls, which can be shared with other organisations.

The requirement to save £46m by March 2017 could also see the number of area commands reduced from six to three, with the current Northumberland area command falling into a new larger “North” catchment which would have its headquarters in Wallsend.

Services in Tynedale were last scaled back in December 2006 when the front desks at Bellingham, Corbridge, Haltwhistle and Ponteland were closed, while Prudhoe remained open to the public between 8am and midnight.

But despite assurances that no stations will close under the latest plans until alternative accommodation has been found for officers, the news has been met fierce local opposition.