Police station must stay open

I used the recent recess to catch up with important issues affecting my constituency.

As a former Home Office Crime Reduction Minister, I have a keen interest in policing and crime.

I met with Northumbria Police Chief Constable Sue Sim to be briefed on the savings made necessary by government cuts.

200 hundred uniformed officers are set to go, on top of the 389 already gone. Furthermore, 240 civilian staff jobs will be cut on top of the 614 staff posts lost.

I am assured that neighbourhood police teams will remain in place. They are crucial in giving communities confidence.

But I remain concerned about specialist teams who are being reorganised. My fear is that we are seeing an upturn in crime, particularly acquisitive crime, returning to the model which links crime to economic recession.

More officers with a more proactive approach can make a real difference, and my view is that the level of cuts puts the ability to tackle crime at risk.

A number of police stations are to be closed including Whitley Bay station.

Some of our existing stations are outdated and costly to run but I made clear to the chief constable, that Whitley Bay station must remain open until alternative town centre premises can be found.

Local policing, tackling crime and improving confidence is a prize we cannot afford to surrender.