A review of the structure of the force and estate is being undertaken as a result of Government funding cuts and to ensure the best service is delivered in the most efficient and effective way.
Following the approval of the Estate Strategy there are expected to be some opportunities to reduce the force’s physical estate.
When reviewing policing in Yarm, it became apparent that the area is currently primarily policed from Thornaby Police Station.
The Local Neighbourhood office and PCSO attend the Yarm Residents’ Association meeting every four weeks in the Meadowings.
A surgery was also held in Yarm Library until January 2014. However, that has now stopped because no-one attended.
Analysis of services delivered from the building on Yarm High Street showed that over a six-month period in 2013, there were 596 visits to the station. Most of those visits were enquiries or for officers to give advice to visitors.
There were few “policing” visits to Yarm Station – and those that did take place could easily be accommodated from elsewhere.
Yarm Police Station is leased to the PCC. Running costs alone are nearly £19K per annum. In addition, operational and other costs amount to approximately £25K per year. Therefore, it costs the PCC approximately £35 for each visitor to the building.
Given that 16% of visits to the station were by people asking for directions, Cleveland tax payers are effectively paying about £7,000 per year to provide directions for people visiting the station.
Given current policing, use of the station and in response to the financial challenges facing the PCC and the force, Cleveland Police has identified that they no longer need this building.
A review of the building’s lease show that there is a break cause, which would also the PCC to terminate the lease earlier than originally anticipated.
The PCC must give six months’ notice by 31 March 2014. If this is given, PCC responsibility for the building will cease on 31 October 2014.
The PCC will be responsible for dilapidation costs and the cost of terminating the lease. These are estimated at £12K.
However, this would be offset by the recurring saving of £19K per annum in relation to the running costs alone.
If the option to terminate the lease is not triggered by 31 March 2014 then there will be no further option to terminate the lease before its end date of 31 October 2019.
If the lease is not terminated by 31 March 2014, the PCC will be committed to the building and it will cost Cleveland tax payers about £100k for the final five years of the lease.
If the proposal to end the lease is agreed then surgeries in Yarm Library would start again and take place twice per week. Attendance at surgeries would be reviewed to ensure they were an efficient use of police time.
Discussions are also ongoing with the Fire service, looking at the potential for Cleveland Police to use the fire station, in Yarm.
Given current policing and current use of Yarm Police Station, the force has identified that it no longer needs the building to provide operational policing.
The PCC is, therefore, asked to agree to use the option to terminate the lease on 31 March 2014, triggering the subsequent closure of Yarm Police Station by 31 October 2014.