Police HQ ‘should be sold’ to fund crime prevention

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THE headquarters of Humberside Police Authority could be sold if the Conservative candidate wins next month’s election for police and crime commissioner.

East Riding councillor Matthew Grove said the building at Pacific Exchange in High Street, Hull, where the authority currently meets, was worth about £500,000 and he would seek to sell it to set up a community crime prevention fund if he wins the battle to be the force’s first commissioner.

He said: “An oak-panelled former gentleman’s club with deep carpet and leather Chesterfield sofas is more in keeping with the House of Lords – therefore my intention if elected, would be to sell off this luxurious building and relocate to somewhere more modest, with my priority being to share a suitable building with another local organisation as near to the Humber Bridge as possible.

“This will reduce the costs for both the commissioner’s office for any partner organisation with which an existing building will be shared. A location near the Humber Bridge will ensure the office of the police and crime commissioner is more readily accessible to those people on both the north and south bank (of the Humber).”

He said the proposed fund would be used to match-fund applications for capital projects put forward by community groups and town and parish councils, such as CCTV cameras, vehicle-activated signs, gates and youth shelters.

Coun Grove is the second Humberside Police candidate to advocate cutting the cost of the new role.

Liberal Democrat candidate Simone Butterworth said this week that she would not appoint a deputy if elected, and would instead spend the money on frontline policing, reducing reoffending, and supporting victims of crime.

She earlier described the commissioner’s £75,000 salary as “outrageous”, and “not in keeping with the salaries and lives of ordinary people”.

Announcing her plans not to appoint a deputy, the Hull councillor said: “If the choice is between a Deputy Police Commissioner and even one more bobby on the streets of Humberside, then I want to see the money going towards frontline policing.

“This job shouldn’t be about creating more well-paid back-room staff, or worse, big salaries for political appointments. It should be about the police commissioner getting out there and responding to the needs of local communities, not hiring their cronies to do their work for them.”

Other candidates for Humberside Police include Lord Prescott, who said he would seek to slow the pace of cuts at the force, retired Chief Supt Paul Davison, who said he would investigate every single crime, and UKIP MEP Godfrey Bloom, who said he wanted to abolish the concept of hate crime.

Commissioners will handle force budgets, set policing priorities, and have the power to hire and fire chief constables.