St Albans must keep police presence says council leader
PUBLISHED: 12:39 28 November 2013
Keeping a police presence in St Albans is vital according to district council leader, Julian Daly.
He is perturbed that concerns expressed by a council scrutiny committee about some aspects of the proposed move by police into the council offices in St Albans city centre could stop it happening.
The scrutiny committee has raised issues about where the police will park if the move goes ahead and the staffing of the front desk without police officers or civilian support.
But Cllr Daly maintains that both issues are surmountable and said: “I am concerned they are trying to derail the police moving in the building. We have been working very hard to keep the police in the city and I don’t want this to be seen as a sign that the city doesn’t want them.”
He pointed out that other councils including Dacorum, Three Rivers and Hertsmere had accommodated police in their civic centres. With the head count of council staff reduced by something like a hundred people in the past couple of years, there was the capacity to restructure the interior space of the civic offices to accommodate the police.
As far as car parking was concerned, he went on, he anticipated 40 spaces being found in the lower ground floor car park of the civic offices which is currently in public use. But negotiations were going on with NCP about reclassifying underused car parks in the city centre so some were targeted at shoppers and visitors and others to commuters and workers which would dilute the loss of the 40 spaces.
With regard to the manning of a front desk, Cllr Daly said they would be looking at the model adopted by Three Rivers where council staff were trained to handle enquiries and point people in the right direction.
Cllr Daly also said that with the police vacating their existing premises in Victoria Street and moving into the civic offices, it would help free up the surrounding city centre area for long-awaited redevelopment.