VIDEO: Police put back on streets with opening of new Billingshurst Community Police Station

The police presence in Billingshurst should be enhanced after the official opening of its new community police station.

Around ten volunteers will give up their time to work in shifts and man reception at the community centre in Roman Way Monday to Friday between 9.30am and 12.30pm and again from 2.30pm and 5pm.

JPCT 281113 Opening of Billingshurst Community Police Office. Photo by Derek Martin

JPCT 281113 Opening of Billingshurst Community Police Office. Photo by Derek Martin

It is hoped the move will free up more time for PCSO Adrian Bell and PC Phil La to be deployed onto the village streets.

Sussex police and crime commissioner Katy Bourne helped to cut the ribbon - or police tape in this case.

“The one thing that the public tell me constantly is they want to see neighbourhood policing at the heart of their communities,” she said at the opening on Thursday (November 28).

“This is absolutely indicative of neighbourhood policing in its most innovative.”

Mrs Bourne praised PCSO Bell who has championed the idea.

She added: “Most important of all it couldn’t be done without the volunteers, it wouldn’t exist without you.

“Those that can, do, but those who can do more, volunteer.”

Volunteer Sarah Douglas, 40, saw the role advertised on Facebook.

“There needs to be more of a police presence in the village,” she said, “and I wanted to police be proactive in the village again.”

The volunteer, whose father was a PC for Billingshurst, once lived in the old police station in Coombe Hill.

Passionate about helping the force, she said in time the police presence should get back to how it used to be as a result of this initiative.

Chief inspector Howard Hodges, Horsham district commander, said: “It’s been a labour of love for people, staffed by volunteers.

“Volunteering is absolutely essential and I would like to see more of these stations across the district.

“Thanks to Adrian Bell who is the driving force in getting this off the ground.”

Earlier this year Mrs Bourne revealed plans to close Horsham, Steyning and Pulborough police stations and open a number of community hubs across the district.

It follows a review of more than 100 Sussex Police buildings. The force has to save £50million by 2015.

Last week Mrs Bourne said discussions about where these hubs would open in Horsham town centre and when Horsham police station will close were ‘sensitive’ and ongoing issues.