Opportunity to grill minister and police chief

Chief Constable Gary Roberts

Chief Constable Gary Roberts

Have your say

This Thursday the public can quiz police chiefs about cuts to their budget at a public meeting called by the Police Consultative Forum in Castletown Civic Centre at 7pm.

The Manx force’s budget has been reduced from £15.8m to £12.5m in the past five years and in response the number of officers has been slashed by 11 per cent.

Police stations in Lord Street and Port Erin are also to close.

From late September, when Port Erin police station closes, the focus of policing in the south will be in Castletown.

Discussions are continuing about the station relocating from its current location opposite the entrance to Castle Rushen to the Civic Centre. In a similar change, Ramsey’s police moved in to the town hall from their base in Parliament Street in 2011.

PCF member Kevin Weir, who is also a commissioner in the town, said: ‘We have discussed it (the public meeting) for quite a while, to talk about different aspects of policing and with the new cuts it was a good time to get the Chief Constable (Gary Roberts), Minister (of the Department of Home Affairs, Juan Watterson) and Inspector (Darrill Pearson) for the north, west and south to a meeting and people can ask their questions and voice their concerns and the right people are there to answer questions.

‘Hopefully we will have a good crowd there. We want to enable people to ask questions and the Chief Constable and Minister have agreed, which is excellent.’

The first meeting, focusing on Douglas, Onchan and Braddan, was taking place in Douglas as the Examiner went to press last night.

Meetings for the north and west will be arranged after the Manx Grand Prix.

The meetings are being organised by the Police Consultative Forum (PCF), an independent body made up of community representatives that seeks the views of the public regarding policing and the prevention of crime.

Councillor Colin Cain, chairman of the PCF, said: ‘These public meetings will provide a forum for people to hear more about the changes and what they will mean in practical terms.’

Neighbourhood policing is set to continue, but in a different format with the three teams outside Douglas being reduced in size and brought under the command of a single inspector.

Monday to Friday night time cover will be provided centrally from Douglas.

The changes will also result in changes to call handling, and to the management of police officers.

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