Plans for Baldock police base after station sold

FUNDS are being sought to establish a police office in Baldock after the town’s police station was closed and sold last year “to claw back a bit of money”.

Plans have been rubberstamped to oust a youth club from Baldock Community Centre in order to provide police officers with a base in the town.

Since Baldock Police Station closed, officers have been based at the station in Letchworth GC.

PC Nic Musto, the new safer neighbourhood team co-ordinator in Baldock, said it will be necessary to go “cap in hand” to various organisations within the community to raise the �10,000 plus needed to fulfil plans to establish a police office in the town.

“The plan certainly has been rubber-stamped, but it’s in the early stages as to when it happens, which is also subject to money,” he said.

PC Musto continued: “The police station was obviously closed to claw back a bit of money from the central government cuts.

“It’s obviously very important” to be based in Baldock, he said, allowing officers to complete their paperwork and then “be able to open the door and be back on the streets”.

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He said that currently about two operational hours are lost every day due to officers having to travel back and forth between Baldock and Letchworth GC.

“We would much prefer to be based 100 per cent of the time in Baldock,” said PC Musto.

Giving an example of why being based in the community is vital, he said that last month officers were in Baldock Community Centre when the descriptions of a group wanted in connection with a series of mobile phone thefts across the south east was issued.

“They had parked directly outside the community centre, so we leapt out and arrested them,” he said. “That highlights that staying in the heart of the community produces results.”

While there will be no front counter services as such, it will be advertised when officers are in the community centre and not on patrol and people will be able to drop in with any issues.

Baldock Community Centre is run by North Herts District Council (NHDC).

NHDC member for Baldock, Cllr Michael Muir, said: “We are in favour of getting the police a place in the community centre and I hope it’s going to be imminent.

“I believe they are trying to raise the money needed.”

Commenting on the youth club being moved out of the community centre, a spokesman for Herts County Council, which runs the service through Youth Connexions, said: “The youth provision in Baldock is going through a review.

“We are doing a needs analysis with young people in the area. There have been quite low numbers over the last year or so for the two sessions run at the community centre.

“If there is a need, we will have to find somewhere to go.”

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