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10 April 2014, 17:16
Yarm police office is going to be closed because only 1 in 6 of the issues that are dealt with there are to do with crime
The move will save almost £19,000 per year in running costs and lease, and is part of a wider review of the Cleveland Police estate.
In a study from January 2013 until June 2013, there were 596 visits to the police station - with only 90 to report crime.
100 were to ask for directions
82 for parking issues and parking discs
62 were to get telephone numbers.
The remainder were for other reasons including deliveries, lost property, and contractors.
Deputy Chief Constable Iain Spittal said:
"A key thing to remember is that we don't police from Yarm Police Office. The Integrated Neighbourhood Team covering Yarm starts and finishes its shift from Thornaby.
I can assure residents and businesses that policing levels in Yarm will not alter, and our officers will continue to attend residents' meetings and town council meetings as usual, as well as policing the night-time economy and other events.
I am also exploring alternative locations with the fire service and local authority which our officers could use as a drop-in location if residents and businesses require this.
The ways in which we interact with the public is changing, thanks to advances in technology and particularly the increase in the use of social media, so we need to ensure that the communications channels we use meet the requirements of our communities.
The force remains absolutely committed to neighbourhood policing, but our neighbourhood officers do not sit behind desks waiting for people to enter a building.
Their office is the streets, where they are out and about speaking to communities and dealing with crime alongside detectives. Our true assets are not bricks and mortar, they are our people.''
Barry Coppinger, the forces' Police and Crime Commissioner said:
"I have carefully considered the proposals around Yarm Police Office and I do not underestimate the significance of this for local residents.
Discussions around the closure of police buildings are always going to be difficult and emotive. But the science behind the proposal is that the building is not being used as it should and we can ill afford to ignore that if we want to work smarter and more effectively.
Sadly because of the government cuts imposed on the force, I am now in a position where I have to choose buildings or people, and as I have given a commitment to maintaining and developing neighbourhood policing, the choice will be people every time."
The office will be replaced with regular beat surgeries in the library on a trial basis and social media sites have also been set up.