'No plans to close Hartlepool's police station,' says top cop - with more officers promised for town
A top cop has confirmed there are no plans to close Hartlepool’s police station.
The town’s police HQ had its custody suite closed at the start of this year, with those arrested taken to Middlesbrough to be processed.
Worries the Avenue Road hub could close have persisted – but those fears were quelled at the latest police and crime panel meeting.
Brexit Party councillor Lee Cartwright asked if there were any short or long term plans to close the station – telling panellists there was “nervousness” over its future.
His question got a “no” from Police and Crime Commissioner Barry Coppinger.
And Chief Constable Richard Lewis put any doubt to bed.
“Absolutely none,” he said.
“Hartlepool is one of the key components for us in terms of the service across Cleveland Police area.
“If there is an additional custody block pressure we need it for overspill and Hartlepool will play a vital part of our future service.
“There are no plans at all (to close it).”
The force “mothballed” the station’s custody suite at the start of the year so it could be reopened if possible.
But the town has seen a rise in recorded crime – with 1,263 more recorded cases in Hartlepool last year compared to 2017.
Chief Con Lewis has vowed a shift back to “neighbourhood policing” on Teesside with an extra 100 officers to be rolled out across Cleveland before April next year.
Meanwhile, Coun Cartwight asked if reinforcements were on the horizon.
He added: “I’m getting good feedback about us going back to ward policing which is one of your aims – we are seeing the fruits of your labour.
“But the teams still feel they are quite thin on the ground.”
The chief said Hartlepool would “get its fair share” of the 100 officers to come.
Chief Con Lewis added: “We understand we need to build on the success of the integrated team in Hartlepool – it’s an exemplar for some of the other areas we’ve got.”
Coun Cartwright said there was a perception that police resources got “dragged into Middlesbrough” from Hartlepool.
“We’re trying to dispel that perception,” he added.