Surrey police stations to close in bid to protect jobs

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Fifteen police stations in Surrey are to close in an attempt to safeguard frontline jobs in the county's force.

Stations considered little-used by the public will go with staff redeployed to other buildings, often sharing with other public services.

The vacated buildings will be sold or handed back when their leases expire as the force attempts to save £52m over the next 10 years.

The savings should allow up to 100 more officers to be recruited by 2012.

Chief Constable Mark Rowley said: "If we are to meet the challenge of dealing with drastic financial cuts against a backdrop of rising crime during a recession we have to make tough decisions.

"While many other forces are cutting the number of frontline police officers I am determined not to do this in Surrey and have launched a series of change programmes to tackle the demands we face."

'Inefficient buildings'

Surrey Police said the doomed stations were under-used, receiving as few as one visitor a day.

Some personnel will be relocated at co-located sites, where staff will share with "partner organisations", and some at neighbourhood-police bases, which will not be open to the public.

A review of the force's buildings suggested many of them were inefficient and costly to maintain but with little public use.

A survey by the police authority disclosed public backing for preserving frontline policing over buildings.

The police said each visit by a member of the public costs the equivalent of three hours of an officer's time at £82, while each phone enquiry costs about £7.

The stations facing closure are at Sunbury, Ashford, Banstead, Leatherhead, Walton, Egham, Oxted, Horley, Haslemere, Cranleigh, Farnham, Ash, Ripley, Cobham and Molesey.

Operations in Dorking, Esher, Camberley, Epsom and Godalming are set to move to co-located sites.

The changes are being phased over the coming year.

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