Labour is calling for a halt to the downgrading of local police stations in Somerset and says police cells should be retained at police stations in Minehead and Yeovil.
In Minehead, there are plans for the police to be relocated from the police station to the nearby ambulance station. There would potentially be no custody suite there were people arrested could be held.
Minehead Labour councillor Andy Lewis said:
“To have no police custody suite in Minehead would be a false economy when the nearest alternatives at Bridgwater and Taunton are so far away. The police need to be able to operate efficiently in Minehead and the surrounding villages, without having to make lengthy journeys every time they make an arrest.
“Labour’s candidate for Police and Crime Commissioner, Kerry Barker has said that the centralisation of custody facilities and closure of town and city centre police stations has a very serious and detrimental effect on local policing.
“ He has promised that if elected his first priority will be to find out what people want from their police. I’m sure he will hear that people in West Somerset want a full police service, including a custody suite, to be retained in Minehead.”
Labour candidate for PCC criticises record of current PCC
Kerry Barker has criticised the record of the present Police and Crime Commissioner, Sue Mountstevens. He said:
“The appointment of four different chief constables within the four year term of the present incumbent is the direct result of ill-judged decisions by her. Even worse have been decisions to scrap experienced and successful specialist teams who dealt with such difficult subjects as sex crimes, domestic violence and child protection.
“We should use technology not to replace police officers and remove them from rural communities and city estates but to assist such officers to be much more effective and available as local police officers. Withdrawing officers and basing them centrally actually reduces police forces to become reactors to crime rather than part of communities preventing crime. “