Police to be based in arts centre

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A neighbourhood policing team is to be based in an arts centre.

A planning application has been approved by Mid Sussex District Council to relocate East Grinstead neighbourhood policing team into a refurbished area of the Chequer Mead Arts Centre, the force has announced.

The centre is used for music, comedy and drama performances and a spokesman for Sussex Police said the change had been carefully considered.

The spokesman said: “The location change for East Grinstead Police Station has been carefully considered and has been in full consultation with all partners affected by this move to ensure Sussex Police have the optimum mix of buildings in the right locations, including co-location with partners, to deliver the best service possible for our communities.”

Chief Inspector Dave Padwick, district commander for Crawley and Mid Sussex said: “The future success of local policing is not just about how we work but where we work, and being within the heart of our communities increases the accessibility and visibility of the neighbourhood policing team.

“This supports our aim to help those more vulnerable and be ready to deploy our resources where there is greatest need.”

Pete Jenkins from Chequer Mead Art Centre added: “We as a centre are looking forward to welcoming Sussex Police to the premises.

“Not only will it bring guaranteed revenue to Chequer Mead, but will also bring the police into a vibrant community facility, closer to town and accessible to so many more people in the local area.”

The move is one of many changes being carried out as part of Sussex Police’s Local Policing Plan.

The plan aims to deliver a police service that is sustainable and flexible to deal with future demand, meet the current challenges of greatly reducing costs whilst maintaining a service that protects the public, keeps communities safe, catches criminals and places victims at the heart of policing.

Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner, Katy Bourne said: “Co-locating the police within Chequer Mead brings the police closer to the heart of the community they serve. In other locations in Sussex, we have already seen the benefits of co-locating police with other services in buildings which the public access regularly.

“I have made a promise to the public that no police stations will close before a suitable alternative can be identified.

“Some of the Sussex Police estate is quite old, with officers working in spaces that are often costly to run, and often not conveniently sited for easy public access.

“Our estates strategy aims to modernise the police workplace for the benefit of officers and staff and also improve the public’s experience. It also aims to realise the greatest possible return from the disposal of inefficient sites allowing us to reinvest in refurbished or new spaces.”

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