Police station hours to be cut

Hastings Police Station will open 66 hours a week
Hastings Police Station will open 66 hours a week

HASTINGS Police Station will slash its opening hours as part of Sussex Police’s costcutting drive.

In a bid to save £2 million, the force has reviewed whether police station front offices need to be open as long as they currently are, and if rubber-stamped, the plans are to cut Hastings’s office hours almost in half.

At the moment, the Bohemia Road front office is open between 8am and midnight seven days a week, but under the new scheme it will open between 9am and 8pm Monday to Saturday - a cut from 112 hours a week to 66.

But Cllr Godfrey Daniel, who sits on the Sussex Police Authority (SPA) is frustrated with the decision. He said: “It’s not wonderful news but I do not think this Government is committed to policing. I have faith the police will do their best to make sure the service doesn’t suffer but I cannot say I am happy about it.

“It’s a question of cutting the opening hours or losing physical police officers then I would rather have shorter hours - but it’s a horrible choice to make.”

Sussex Police needs to save £52 million over the next four years and Chief Constable Martin Richards said that “substantial financial savings” could be found by closing stations where “low public demand permits.”

But Cllr Daniel pointed out that Christopher Hunnisett, who is awaiting trial charged with the murder of Peter Bick, handed himself in at Hastings Police Station late in the evening after Mr Bick’s body was found. “It is interesting,” Cllr Daniel said, “I wonder what would have happened if the police station would have been closed.”

“It’s about public reassurance - people know it’s there and it’s conveniently situated near the town centre. I think morale in the force will suffer and the only people who will be happy are criminals,” he added.

The proposals were discussed at an SPA meeting yesterday afternoon but new hours (pictured) have already come into effect here in Hastings.