Labour councillors are celebrating after receiving confirmation that there will still be a police station in Cambridge city centre, following the success of their online petition which has now reached almost 700 signatures in less than two weeks.
Police and Crime Commissioner Jason Ablewhite along with Chief Constable Nick Dean unveiled their plans to move the city’s main station to Milton last Monday (10th June) in the first stage of what they are calling an important community consultation.
Labour councillors attending Monday’s meeting challenged the Police and Crime Commissioner to provide concerned city residents with more details of what would replace Parkside station after the move. They also urged Commissioner Ablewhite to set up a further consultation in a city centre location as a matter of priority, enabling city residents to give feedback on the proposals.
Cllr Nicky Massey, Executive Councillor for Transport and Community Safety welcomed the news;
“I am very pleased that the PCC has finally announced that we will retain a police station in the city centre. We asked that question several times at Monday’s meeting, but didn’t receive an answer – only promises that there would be a police ‘presence’. What exactly that would look like, the PCC was unable to tell us, and the repeated references to a contact point didn’t do much to reassure anyone.
“Our city has 5 million visitors each year, around 140,000 residents – plus students. We have a buzzing night-time economy. We’re talking about putting bollards on Kings Parade for public safety reasons, but at the same time making plans to leave the city centre without its own police station? It just doesn’t make sense.
“I have asked for an early meeting with the Commissioner so that we can be clear on what we want from a future police station, given that he’s so far failed to give any sort of detail on his plans, and shared nothing either with the City Council or residents.
“Cambridge will always need a police station to provide a visible reassurance for the community. Rest assured that Labour councillors will be keeping up the pressure and working with all relevant agencies to make sure that Cambridge has a police station that works for everyone – and not just a contact point.
Since the meeting, the Police and Crime Commissioner has offered some provisional dates for a consultation event in Cambridge. Cllr Lewis Herbert, Leader of Cambridge City Council, welcomed the news overall but remained critical of some of the details.
“While we’re pleased to see Commissioner Ablewhite starting to think about talking to city centre residents, who will be just as affected by moving the police station, he has totally missed the mark. For a start, all the suggested dates are during working hours which means that those residents who work full-time won’t be able to be there and express their views – or get the answers they need.
This needs to be a genuine consultation that takes into account the views of as many Cambridge residents as possible. Cambridge Labour are committed to making sure that happens and that the city centre retains a fully resourced police station that is open to the public – not just a contact point.”
To show your support you can sign Labour Councillors’ petition at https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/we-need-a-police-station-in-cambridge-city-centre