Get involved: send your pictures, video, news and views by texting KNEWS to 80360, or email
Community leaders voice serious concerns after announcement service is under review
Fears have been expressed this week Keighley Police Station’s cells could be closed due to cost-cutting measures by the West Yorkshire force.
Top brass have confirmed they are reviewing custody facilities due to significant budget constraints.
There are currently two custody suites in the district – at the Royd Ings Avenue station in Keighley and Bradford South. The review will assess which facilities have the most demand.
Bradford Lord Mayor and Keighley councillor Khadim Hussain has vowed to raise the issue as a matter of urgency with Police and Crime Commissioner Mark Burns-Williamson to try to maintain town cells.
Coun Hussain said: “This is news to me. This was a concern I’d had before, but I was assured by senior officers services would be maintained. If they close the cells, then what next?
“I will be taking it up with the commissioner. This would be unacceptable considering the size of Keighley.
“We need a front-line service here, and that includes custody suites. We can’t have families and police driving to Bradford. That will be a huge cost – it is myopic and doesn’t make much sense.”
And the Labour councillor’s views are echoed across the political divide.
Keighley’s Tory MP Kris Hopkins said: “At the end of the day, they have to manage their limited resources, but I would be concerned if this jeopardised their service in Keighley.
“It was bad enough losing a station in the town centre.”
Solicitor Keith Blackwell, based at Blackwells in Devonshire Street, Keighley, first heard rumours about the possible closure earlier this month.
He said: “If the cells close it will be a massive event – it would have huge ramifications for the people of Keighley.
“The station has a good cell block with about 30-odd cells that were paid for by the taxpayer. If it were closed, it would be a huge waste of money.
“If they close the cells in Keighley, then the nearest ones will be in Bradford. Police will spend half their working time sat on their behinds driving to Bradford and back.
“People who have been in the cells might be released in the middle of the night in Bradford and have to make their way back to somewhere like Oakworth.”
A spokesman for the crime commissioner’s office said: “Given the significant cuts to the budget, West Yorkshire Police has started a programme of change to fundamentally alter the structure and operation of the force to ensure we can meet the funding challenge, but also ensure our communities across West Yorkshire are safer and feel safer.
“Mark Burns-Williamson has been consulting with people across the county and our focus is, as far as we can, to maintain services where the public want them, on the front line.
“Part of the change programme is a review of our custody facilities, which will look at making best use of our resources, including custody suites, based on where the demand is and how we can best service our communities.
“The process, which is ongoing, involves formal consultation with affected staff and staff associations and we welcome views from the public and partners.”
Comments are closed on this article.