More police to be based at Battle

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MAJOR restructuring of policing across East Sussex will see more officers based at Battle.

The town’s police station, in North Trade Road, is set to become one of five ‘hubs’ across the county, with response officers from Bexhill and Rye to be based at Battle from September.

Sussex Police said the changes will not impact on the time police take to respond to emergency calls as the response teams will be mobile around the Rother district.

The change will only affect where response officers start and finish their shift.

The Force has said creating the five hubs - which also include Hastings, Eastbourne, Lewes and Uckfield - will help cut paperwork and cut costs.

Neighbourhood Policing Teams will remain unchanged.

East Sussex Divisional Commander, Chief Superintendent Robin Smith, said: “Sussex Police understands how important neighbourhood policing is to the local community and this will be protected despite the need to make savings.

“It is not about taking away services or blind cuts, but finding alternative ways to deliver policing.

“We are committed to protecting, or even improving, our service.

“Quite frankly, we won’t be able to do this if we work in the same way with less money and fewer people.

“Instead, we are looking at how we can do things differently and find ways to cut out waste and bureaucracy.

“One of the ways we will achieve this is by looking at whether we can provide a better service to local communities by restructuring facilities across the East Sussex Division.

“In September response officers will move to five hubs across the division based in Hastings, Battle, Eastbourne, Lewes and Uckfield.

“The changes will not impact on the ability of police to respond to emergency calls.

“Response times should not be affected as the response teams will continue to be mobile, visibly patrolling across the districts as they do now.

“The change will only affect where response officers start and finish their shift.

“After booking on at their base station and receiving a short formal briefing from their supervisor, they will be tasked to go out in the community for the rest of their shift.

“This new model will allow them to continue to attend emergency and priority calls but will have less paperwork and so they will be back out into the community more quickly.”

A number of other changes will also come into force across the district in September.

New Responsive Investigation Teams (RIT) will be launched in Hastings, Eastbourne and Uckfield, which Sussex Police says will allow secondary investigations to be streamlined and removed from front line response policing. Chief Superintendent Smith said: “This means that response officers will continue to attend emergency and priority calls but will then hand over the investigation and, where relevant, prisoners to the dedicated RIT freeing them up to get back out on the streets quicker.

“This is an opportunity to provide a high quality crime investigation service to victims.

“It will reduce duplication and bureaucracy and the number of days it takes to investigate crime and will increase efficiency.”

Chief Superintendent Smith continued: “Neighbourhood Police Teams are unchanged.

“Their main role is to engage with the public which is more often done during the time when the community are available and want to see the team.

“The fact they do not work nights does not make them any less effective in reducing crime and bring offenders to justice.”

The Force CID review will also mean changes.

Officers based at departments across the districts, including Bexhill, will move to hubs at Hastings, Eastbourne or Uckfield.

Earlier in the year police stations across East Sussex, including Battle, saw their opening hours slashed as the Force strives to save £52 million by 2015.

Chief Superintendent Smith said: “These changes, ultimately, are aimed at providing the community with a consistent, high quality and relevant service that is fit for today and ready for the future.”