Ascot residents call for quicker action to reopen police station
Published: 13 May 2014 11:300 comments
The High Street building was closed back in November for major refurbishment works and had been due to open in the middle of March.
The station was immediately handed over to contractors and there has been no police presence on the site since.
Due to delays with the work, police have confirmed the station will not be operational again until early June – only a fortnight before the start of Royal Ascot week.
Despite Ascot still being policed by its neighbourhood policing team, it has been temporarily based at Windsor police station in Alma Road since the closure.
Details about the refurbishment have not been released but police say information will be made available closer to the reopening.
Councillors have raised concerns about the length of time Ascot has spent without a visible policing presence in the town.
Royal Borough councillor Lynda Yong, from Sunninghill and South Ascot ward, said: “I would like to see the facility in High Street opened sooner rather than later.
“I would like to see a presence in the town centre purely because of Ascot Racecourse and of Royal Ascot week.”
Cllr David Hilton, of Ascot and Cheapside ward, said: “The sooner that the neighbourhood policing team are back based in High Street the better, to be honest, so they can patrol the area properly.
“I think Windsor is too far to travel for the police force to operate in Ascot on a successful basis. They can’t serve the area properly having to travel that far.”
However fears that the police station would not be finished in time for Royal Ascot week, where levels of crime rise significantly in the town, were allayed in a statement from Thames Valley Police.
It said: “Ascot police station is being refurbished and is not yet open to the public. The neighbourhood team will be moving back in at the start of June and it will be business as usual for Royal Ascot week.”
Readers also took to the News’s Facebook page to voice their concerns, saying a police station is an integral part of the community.
Bu Seagley said: “On shifts, the poor police officers are driving miles further just to use the toilet or a computer to work on, meaning they’re wasting fuel and adding to their exhaustion.
“The public are having to travel further to attend a police station to produce documents or receive advice. It’s ripped the heart out of communities.”
Lezli Hamon added; “Of course residents would feel safer if there was an active police station in Ascot. Closing police stations should not be seen as an economic issue – it’s a community issue.”
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