Martin Kirby Column; Bearland Nick Gets some Stick, Hot On The Press and a New Arrival
ON THE BEAT – OR DEAD-BEAT?
I'm finding it hard to share the enthusiasm of those who welcome Gloucester Police moving out of Bearlands and having a new police station built on Eastern Avenue.
Obviously, if the current building is 'not fit for purpose' then something has to be done about it, but surely a makeover of the current facilities would be less expensive than building a spanking new police station from the ground up?
The explanation that Gloucestershire Constabulary rents its current city centre site from Gloucestershire County Council and it is run-down and would cost too much to renovate, doesn't make sense to me. As landlord, surely the council has a responsibility to its tenant and should carry out necessary repairs. Also, if the council, as we are told, intends to move staff into the vacated building, won't it also be unfit for their purpose too? If the intention is to upgrade it for council staff, why isn't it upgraded for the present occupants?
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Councillor Tarren Randle (C, Barnwood) is 'not concerned about police moving into her ward' and said; "I don't think leaving the city centre will affect policing in Gloucester."
Sorry, but that's utter cobblers. If there is an incident in the city centre, getting officers to it will take longer from Eastern Avenue than from Bearlands, so that's a downside for a start.
We then have to look at what will be a 'police point' in the city centre. Police and Crime Commissioner Martin Surl, hints that an empty shop may be used to create a police point in the city centre. Great, so our police HQ will be reduced to the level of a Tesco Express and will no doubt keep office hours as well as being a target for drunks and vandals when its closed.
Mr Surl also informs us that the new police station on Eastern Avenue will not have any cells but plans are forging ahead to build 50 cells next to the constabulary's headquarters at Waterwells.
So if yobbos are fighting in Northgate Street, coppers will have to drive from Eastern Avenue to deal with them. If anyone is arrested, the officers will then have to drive to Quedgeley to put them in a cell and after the paperwork is done, drive back to Eastern Avenue, ready to do it all again. Is that really the way to take modern policing forward?
If we must have a new police station, why can't it be incorporated into The Quays/Blackfriars development? There isn't enough police presence in the city now. Move our main police station to the suburbs, and things will only get worse.
My friend Richard Powell spotted this poster outside Nick Brown's the butcher. Good to see there's still some humour out there.
HELLO YOUNG MAN
The list of Kirby grandchildren grew longer last week when a bonny bouncing boy joined our two beautiful granddaughters. Oakley Arthur Kirby is doing well, thanks to Gloucester's maternity unit and the efforts of our daughter-in-law Katie, with lots of support from our son Steve. Nanny and Grandad couldn't be more pleased.
I also have to thank the NHS on my own behalf, as I underwent a surgical procedure in the coronary unit at Cheltenham General Hospital. The whole team – doctors and nurses – looked after me very well and put up with the grumbling of a curmudgeonly old git.
DON'T CALL US…..
I won't go into the details of the new press regulatory scheme, mainly because I don't understand a word of it. What I do know is that if Hugh Grant and the rest of his 'Hacked-Off' crew think they have scored any kind of victory, they should think again.
Anyone who believes that MPs care a rat's backside about a Z-List actor having his phone calls tapped is deluded. It was always about MPs getting back at the press for having the impudence to expose their expenses fiddles.