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West Midlands Police’s plan to save £5 million a year on estates has been given approval by the Police and Crime Commissioner and will now proceed to the next stage.

West Midlands Police will now be able to proceed with their plans to save money and modernise the force’s estate.

Whilst backing the overall strategy the Commissioner has insisted he will only give the go-ahead to the release the 24 police buildings listed in the Chief Constable’s strategy once he is satisfied with the force’s plans to maintain a local presence in each area.

Following an initial engagement period, the PCC has asked West Midlands Police to conduct a much longer period of engagement with local communities on individual aspects of their estates programme.

West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson, said,

“I have approved the Chief Constable’s plans, but I will not sign off on the sale of a single building until I am satisfied with the force’s plans to maintain the policing presence in all of our local areas.

“After £145 million cuts since 2010 and with the level of funding from government being squeezed year on year, the force must continue to find efficiencies to protect officer numbers. The Chief Constable believes the £5 million annual savings in his strategy will help protect 100 police officer posts.

“Crime is also changing and I need to ensure West Midlands Police has an estate that is equipped to help officers and staff respond to those crimes. Whilst the threats we face change, the public still need access to their police. That is why these proposals ensure that the current number of public contact offices will be maintained at current levels.

“Before signing off on the sale of any building, I will also be asking West Midlands Police to examine the benefits to the local community. I am committed to ensuring that the police buildings released as part of this process create real social value, in addition to freeing up money to protect police officer posts. Our region, like other areas, is facing a housing crisis. I am keen that the under-occupied police buildings can make a contribution to addressing that, as well helping support employment and other services.”

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