SOUTH Yorkshire Police has rebuffed a bid by Mr John Healey to bring back Wath’s police station.
Mr Healey, who has an office in the town, welcomed the Government committing to recruiting more police officers in last week’s spending review and said it was the perfect opportunity to reopen the station on Church Street.
The enquiry desk closed eight years ago and the building has not been an operational base since 2015.
But the force knocked back the request, saying the small base for officers it operates at Montgomery Hall was an “invaluable community asset”.
Mr Healey said in a letter to Chief Constable Stephen Watson: “There is now a cross-party recognition of what the public know and Labour have long-argued that cuts to the police since 2010 have gone too far.
“The rise in crime, the fall in public confidence, the loss of 500 South Yorkshire police officers and plans to cut 100 PCSOs are all seen to result directly from these funding cuts.
“Labour have pledged since the 2017 Election to fund an extra 10,000 police officers as part of re-building the strength of our police forces across the country.
“Now the Government has made a similar promise, which tomorrow’s Spending Review is expected to confirm.
“This re-building of frontline police numbers means our Police Forces should start to make decisions that take this into account.
“There is now an important opportunity for you to restore the community policing presence that has been lost in many of our South Yorkshire towns and villages, outside the main centres.
“And, of course, you will need police station space and operational bases for increased numbers of officers.”
Mr Healey asked Mr Watson to take Wath Police Station, which is to be sold next month subject to contract, off the market immediately and commit to reopen it “to strengthen the police’s neighbourhood presence”.
He added: “South Yorkshire Police badly need this base in the northern part of the Rotherham borough.
“Your neighbourhood team currently does its best to be seen regularly in community centres but there is now no local police station open to the public to report crime or community intelligence outside Rotherham town centre, and no operational base for your officers beyond Rawmarsh so they spend much wasted travel time to reach the northern parts of the borough in the Dearne which may be up to five miles away.”
Mr Healey also called for a rethink of a staffing shake-up which will see 101 PCSO posts replaced with 73 for police officers, saying the support officers “play an essential part in SYP’s broader neighbourhood policing work”.
A police spokeswoman said the sale had been agreed as it was “costing thousands of pounds each year to retain an unused building”.
She added: “Last year, the Rotherham North Neighbourhoods Team came together with partners from other agencies in Rawmarsh, creating a joint team of officers, dedicated to tackling the issues of crime and anti-social behaviour which matter most to our communities.
“Officers from that team have a base within Montgomery Hall, Wath.
“The space we lease within Montgomery Hall helps to support an invaluable community asset - it gives us a base within the heart of the community which enables us to interact with residents and spend more time in the town.
“An extensive consultation process was undertaken at the time the decision was made to fully close the premises.”