Dorset Police approve sale of Ferndown HQ
Dorset Police has approved a plan to sell its Ferndown divisional HQ and close six front counter services in a bid to save £700,000.
Counter services at Shaftesbury, Ferndown, Christchurch, Winton, Dorchester and Wareham will close, following a year-long consultation.
More than 200 staff based at the Ferndown HQ, valued at £6-8m, will be moved to other areas of the force.
The police and crime commissioner (PCC) called the decision "challenging".
Nine counter services will remain with limited opening hours and services and only Bournemouth, Poole, Weymouth and Bridport stations will provide a full service.
PCC Martyn Underhill said: "This decision has been one of the most challenging faced by Dorset Police in recent memory and, needless to say, it is not one that has been taken lightly.
"I know that six front office counters are six too many, but we have to meet our cuts somewhere when we are losing 20% of our budget."
Dorset Police estimates the sale of the Ferndown divisional HQ will save almost £400,000 a year in running costs and could make between £6m and £8m.
The decision was made at a meeting of the Force Strategic Change Board on Wednesday.
Further savings of £9.5m need to be found by the force by 2015.
Chief Constable Debbie Simpson said: "We know that changes of this nature are emotive, however the force cannot continue to provide the same style of service as in the past while operating with a significantly reduced budget.
"The force continues to ensure that there is a policing footprint in every town in Dorset and that we continue to deliver local policing from these locations."