Monday the 7th November saw the public meeting between Staffordshire Police and Kidsgrove Residents take place at Kidsgrove Town Hall. The meeting was attended by around 70 residents, a far cry from the 3000 plus that was claimed to be the case by the Kidsgrove Labour Party. It came on the same day that Councillors Astle and Stringer appeared on BBC Radio Stoke talking about the closures. In this interview Cllr Astle made some very strange remarks, appearing to call for a resignation of a police chief and suggesting that the most important part of policing in Kidsgrove was the current building.
The meeting had a panel format and on the stage were Cllrs Stringer & Burnett and from the Local Council, Chief Supt. Jon Drake the Head of Local Policing (County) and Chief Inspector Neil Hulme Policing Commander for Newcastle Borough Local Policing Team. Also present was Cllr Frank Chapman from Staffordshire Police Authority.
The meeting was opened by the chair who gave the floor to Cllr Stringer who spoke for about 20 minutes presenting a view of how these proposals had been approached over the past few months and concerns about how the proposed move might affect policing in Kidsgrove. Chief Supt. Jon Drake responded with an explanation of why Staffordshire Police were having to consider a move to shared premises and the police view that such a move, whilst saving public money would present an opportunity to provide an improved service with other partners.
Questions were invited from the floor and a good number of residents were given the opportunity to ask questions.
At the end of the session it was reiterated by Cllr Frank Chapman from Staffordshire Police Authority that a decision to move policing services to the Town Hall had not been made and that when the matter was considered by the Police Authority in December a decision would be made in the best interests of the community.
On a positive note the concerns raised by local residents highlight the way in which residents and indeed the town council feel about their local policing team.