New Milton police inspector Darren Ord hopes front office presence can return to town
A senior officer has voiced hopes a police front office will return to New Milton 10 years after the old station was sold for housing.
The comment was made by Insp. Darren Ord during a recent public meeting with beat officers, hosted by New Milton Residents’ Association, in response to a comment by group chair Sue Larking.
This followed Hampshire police and crime commissioner Donna Jones’ announcement that 10 county police stations would be reopened in the next 18 months, Totton among them.
Mrs Larking told the meeting: “We were all rather sad to think we didn’t merit a police station but Totton did.”
In response, Insp. Ord pointed out the force still owned the Totton property, while a lot of its estates, including the old New Milton police station, were sold to developers as part of austerity measures.
The former New Milton police station on Old Milton Road was sold by Hampshire Constabulary in 2013.
Local officers moved into the town hall on Ashley Road, but there has been no public access to them since then.
But Insp. Ord added: “I’ve met up with New Milton Town Council and we’re looking together at the opportunity to open some sort of front office with New Forest District Council [at the town hall].”
PCSO Alan McCaffery stressed: “The police haven’t withdrawn here, but we have had to change to adapt to the society we now live in.”
The possibility of a front office presence by was again mooted during Monday’s full town council meeting.
Town clerk Graham Flexman cited an email from Insp. Ord, stating he had raised the request with the police and crime commissioner’s office.
But when contacted by the A&T, PCC Jones said no such plans were currently in place for New Milton.
“As part of my commitment to drive up police visibility and make police officers accessible to the public once more, I announced in September my plan to reopen 10 more police stations to the public over the next 18 months,” she said.
“These will be in Cowes, Portsmouth Central, Park Gate, Petersfield, Totton, Ryde, Yateley, Eastleigh, Cosham and Gosport.
“My plan means officers will go back into the heart of communities with a police station open to the public in every district across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.
“There are no plans to open a front counter at New Milton town hall.”