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Lord Mayor admits ‘defeat’ over town’s police cells
12:46pm Friday 6th December 2013 in News
A leading Keighley councillor has voiced “relief” after receiving top-level assurances policing in the town will not be eroded.
Khadim Hussain, the current Lord Mayor of Bradford, had sought an urgent meeting with police hierarchy after it was revealed the cells in Keighley were being shut.
He has since met West York-shire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Mark Burns-Williamson, to raise his concerns.
And he has also spoken with Chief Supt Simon Atkin, commander of the new merged Bradford-district police divisions.
The changes, which mean prisoners from Keighley now have to be taken to cells in Bradford, have sparked fears among many that police provision in the town and its outlying areas will significantly deteriorate.
But Coun Hussain – who represents Keighley Central on Bradford Council – said while he was not happy with what had happened, he is reassured.
“I have been told categorically that front-line policing service will be maintained, and that there is no danger to Keighley police station,” he said.
“They see Keighley as a key in their future strategic vision, and will be protecting such as neighbourhood policing.
“The closure of the cells is very unfortunate and I’ve done my level best over this, but like Bradford Council, the police are having to cut back and make difficult decisions.
“I’m told 80 per cent of arrests are made from the Bradford area rather than in Keighley, so you can understand the reasoning regarding the cells.”
He added: “My concern was this could be just the beginning in terms of closures but, although I am not happy with the situation, I am relieved the assurance has been given there won’t be a further reduction in facilities at – or even closure of – Keighley police station.”
Some townspeople fear the move will be a disaster for Keighley, which over the years has seen the closure of its criminal and county courts and the relocation of the police station from the town centre.
Long-serving Keighley solicitor, Keith Blackwell, said the cells closure would harm the town and leave legal representatives and families of suspects having to travel to Bradford city centre.
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