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Monday, 24 November 2014

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Cumbria police raise more than £1.6m in Dalton, Millom and Ambleside buildings sell-off

CUMBRIA’S police force has raised more than £1.6m from a cost-cutting sell-off of stations and buildings.

Further cash could also be made from a number of other bases that have yet to be sold or marketed in an ongoing shake-up that has changed the public face of policing in the county.

Documents reveal the sums brought in from the big sale, launched in a bid to slash costs as chiefs aim to save millions of pounds in the wake of budget cuts.

It followed a review of all stations, offices and buildings, known as the police estate, to see if they provided value for money and met the needs of communities and the squads covering the beats. Stations in Dalton, Millom and Ambleside were among those chosen to be sold.

Cash raised is also being used for a new station in the south of the county.

A report to the county’s crime commissioner, Richard Rhodes, shows totals between £45,600 and £327,000 have been received.

In the last financial year the sales brought in £1,323,100, while further cash – the £327,000 sum – was received in July following the sale of Keswick police station to pub chain JD Wetherspoon.

The sale of two police houses are included in the total.

The scheme was approved by the force’s former governing body, Cumbria Police Authority.

Mr Rhodes then replaced the authority and continued the plan.

He said: “Cumbria Police Authority agreed in December 2011 on a major programme of work that included the disposal of police stations.

“The decision was made on important areas of cost, number of visitors and links to operational policing.

“The reduction in the running costs is part of the budget reduction for the constabulary and the sale proceeds are being used to support, alongside capital reserves, the funding for a new police station at Barrow.”

It was said at the time of the shake-up that it would save about £119,000 a year in running costs.

Some community leaders voiced their disappointment but the force said it was a “small number of buildings” that were “under-occupied and under-used”.

Officers said the way people used stations had changed and visitor numbers were in decline, while technology allowed police to do more while out and about.

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