POLICE officers in Pontefract and Knottingley are moving to the towns’ new £2m fire station, the Express can exclusively reveal.
Pontefract and Knottingley fire station commander Pete Owen revealed the towns’ neighbourhood policing team (NPT) would be joining fire crews at the Stumpcross Lane facility while taking the Express on a tour of the site last Thursday.
Mr Owen said officers, who are currently based at Pontefract Police Station, on Sessions House Yard, would be moving into office space at the former adult training centre site at the end of April.
A similar proposal, which would see Castleford NPT sharing facilities at Castleford’s Beancroft Road fire station, was revealed last year.
Ch Supt Mark Callaghan, divisional commander of Wakefield district police, confirmed Pontefract and Knottingley NPT would be moving but said residents would still have access to the police at the current police station.
He added: “Neighbourhood policing and our contact with the public is at the heart of everything we do.
“As part of our plans around the creation of the new divisional headquarters we have considered the location of all our resources across the Wakefield district.
“In these current challenging financial times we have also been working with our partners to maximise our resources and share costs where we can.
“The move to Pontefract Fire Station is an excellent opportunity ensuring that the Pontefract and Knottingley NPT remains at the heart of the communities it serves.
“Of course the public still have access to the police at the police station in Pontefract.”
The future of the current police stations in Pontefract and Castleford is still uncertain as plans for a new Wakefield divisional headquarters in Normanton progress.
The move will see a number of teams being brought together under one roof for the first time – such as custody cells, 999 response teams, road traffic and CID– but police chiefs have previously said Pontefract and Castleford’s facilities would close. They pledged helpdesk facilities would be available in both towns.
Pontefract and Castleford MP Yvette Cooper said: “Neighbourhood police in our area are doing a good job and it’s important for them to be able to spend as much time out on the streets of Pontefract and Knottingley as possible – but we need to know the long-term consequences of moving the teams, as we need to maintain a proper base for the police in the centre of Pontefract where the public can get help whenever they need it.”