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Watford and Three Rivers roads policing units set to relocate to Stevenage
The police unit responsible for patrolling the roads and motorways of south west Hertfordshire looks set to be relocated across the county to Stevenage.
Despite covering the area with the highest density of traffic – including the busy M1 and M25 motorways – the Watford and Three Rivers roads policing units could find themselves based more than 30 miles away at Stevenage police station.
The plan is to move the 46 members of the roads policing team from North Watford Police Station in Garston to a single base closer to the centre of the county.
It is currently being considered by the chief constables of Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire.
The move could see fewer officers on patrol and increase response times to the south of the county, a source has warned.
Hertfordshire Constabulary spokesman Cath Shepherd said the decision to move to a single base would only be made if a joint unit could continue to offer good coverage across the three counties.
She said: “The business case does propose Stevenage police station as the single base within Hertfordshire for road policing patrol units with two further bases, one in Bedfordshire and another in Cambridgeshire.
“However, this is a position that is still being discussed. “As part of the development of a three-force road policing function all three forces will want to be satisfied that the proposed joint unit does not adversely affect response times and continues to offer good coverage and visibility of patrol units across the three counties.”
Another possible alternative, proposed by the Hertfordshire Police Authority and expected to be discussed next week, is for either Stevenage or North Watford to take over as the main police base with the other being used in a satellite role.
Ms Shepherd added: “We already have a joint road policing function for Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire and proposals have now been developed for a three-force function which would also include Cambridgeshire. “A business case outlining those proposals has already been considered by Bedfordshire’s and Hertfordshire’s full police authorities who gave their in-principle approval.” She added that the business case was due to be considered by Cambridgeshire Police Authority today (September 7).
The North Watford station is also the base for the area’s safer neighbourhood team.
A financial discrepancy in the police’s annual statement of accounts saw the building accidentally being valued at nothing before this was corrected to £1.7 million.
The building on the A405 ceased front counter services in February 2011 along with eight others as part of the “Project 2015” scheme to save £36 million.