School set to be new home for Vale of Belvoir police

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POLICING in the Vale of Belvoir will soon be based out of a village school.

Leicestershire Police needs to save £35 million over the next four years, including £15 million in savings over the next year.

Part of the force’s cost cutting measures include plans to sell off 12 police buildings in Leicestershire and Rutland - including the police station in Queens Street, Bottesford.

At a parish council meeting on Monday, Ch Con Simon Cole said the force plans to move from the Queen Street building - where the police have been based for over 150 years - to an office at Belvoir High School.

Belvoir High School governor Mike Neale said the move would help eradicate an increasing vandalism problem at the school

He said: “Having a police station accommodating officers at a school looking after 500-600 children is a fantastic idea.

“The only possible down side is it is a little bit on the outskirts of the village but the people of Bottesford need to remember the police station is there for the whole of the Vale.”

The move will save the police £14,000 per year in running costs as the school is set to offer space free of charge. Further money will be raised through the sale of the building.

Ch Con Cole said such moves would keep police officers on the beat.

He added: “If the choice is between putting officers and PCSOs and volunteers in a new building at the school which is going to be at a very low cost against keeping them where they are, I will choose the building at the school.

“Otherwise, we will have to find other ways to save the money and that’s when you get into people.”

Ch Con Cole said there will be no change to policing levels in the Vale of Belvoir as a result of the move.

He said: “I will do my damndest to maintain the levels of policing and try to make the savings elsewhere. That’s absolutely what we are trying to do.

“You will still have a dedicated neighbourhood team. What will change is where they start their day - it’s that simple.”

However, the police station move is only part of the first phase of budget cuts - £15 million - and Ch Con Cole would not be drawn on whether the second phase - £19 million - would see police officers lost, despite admitting that cutting everything from the police budget other than salaries would still not be enough.

He added: “At the moment we don’t have a firm plan for stage two and I’m absolutely determined not to make promises I can’t keep.

“We don’t yet have a plan but clearly some things will have to be done differently to save money.”