THE controversial details are contained inside a secret document.

For months police chiefs have been working behind the scenes drawing up a number of options which will radically transform the face of policing in Hampshire and Isle of Wight.

Police stations – many part of the community fabric for generations – might close and be sold off along with other constabulary buildings. Others may re-open in other local buildings, with civic premises and even libraries being considered.

Although those in charge of drawing up the plans are remaining tight-lipped, Hampshire Police Authority bosses who hold the purse strings have warned there are “big and difficult decisions to be made”.

The final drafts of the document outlining the plans are now being drawn up before decisions are made and revealed to the public next month.

Their agenda is likely to address what should be done with Alpha Park – the industrial site bought for £9.2m in 2008 which was set to be home to a state-ofthe- art £40m new headquarters for the force by 2013.

In February last year, police authority members voted to go ahead with the construction of the new building – but put the plan on hold depending on the outcome of the general election and the predicted huge cuts.

By July they were back to the drawing board, considering whether to plough ahead regardless or keep the police headquarters in a building in West Hill, Winchester, which had already been deemed unfit for purpose.

Finding an alternative, more cost-effective option was also considered.

And so the plans were shelved, leaving a financial headache in the form of an empty site that has not been touched for three years – but landing taxpayers with a bill of more than £800,000.

Figures released by Hampshire Constabulary under the Freedom of Information Act reveal that almost £300,000 of that has been spent on 24-hour security, while £190,000 has been spent on business rates and £180,000 has been spent on “scoping and feasibility”

for future plans for the site.

Speculation is rife that the site, which was destined to be home to some 500 officers and staff, will simply be sold off again.

And it’s not the only place under the spotlight.

Rumours also abound that Shirley Police Station, in Shirley High Street, could also be disposed of.

The station is now partly empty after some departments were moved to the new city police headquarters.

L y n d h u r s t Police Station, which sits on land next to the former New Forest Magistrates’ Court, which was closed earlier this year, could also be in the frame.

In Southampton, one of three of the county’s major crime departments, currently based in Hulse Road along with the Serious and Organised Crime team, will also be on the move.

Police chiefs intend to move all 80 staff from the prime piece of land into the new Southampton police station in Southern Road which opened its doors in March.

If approved, the team, who deal with crimes including stranger rape, murder and kidnaps, will move out of the building by the end of this year. It is thought the site could fetch millions from a developer looking to build flats.

Of course, many more police stations and buildings are likely to be under threat.

Hampshire Constabulary currently has some 44 stations across the county, as well as the vast training headquarters in Netley and the current police headquarters in Winchester.

Many could be closed down and sold off – with police stations reopened in the same community but working out of buildings shared with partner agencies such as councils, fire stations and libraries.

A Hampshire police spokesman was not able to reveal the exact number of buildings owned by the force, many of which could go – but it is estimated to be dozens.

They include the renowned Southwick Park, which Hampshire police lease from the MoD to carry out training for CID, frontline officers and police drivers, Ember House in Winchester, where scenes-of-crime work is conducted, and large storage facilities in Portsmouth. There are also several vehicle workshops on the Isle of Wight and in Basingstoke, Fareham and Winchester which are believed to be rented.

The buildings used by Hampshire Police Authority themselves are also leased.

Councillor Jacqui Rayment, chair of Hampshire Police Authority, which will decide on the cuts next month, said deciding which buildings will go was “like a jigsaw puzzle”

and there was “a whole range of options” to be considered.

She said: “We can’t make decisions about one part of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight without it affecting another. If we do close police stations – and it is ‘if’ – we need to make sure that any provision we put in its place is right for that community. There are big decisions, difficult decisions, to be made, but we need an estate that is fit for purpose.”

She added: “In theory, disposing of leased buildings would make sense but sometimes you can find they are on a long lease.”

She denied the plans had been pulled from the agenda of April’s meeting for “political reasons”

ahead of the local elections, but insisted they simply needed more time and did not want to make “hasty decisions”.

John Apter, chairman of Hampshire Police Federation which represents officers and staff, believes the plans going before the authority next month will be “significant”.

He said: “The potential of closing police stations and other buildings is of concern not only to the public but to the staff and officers we represent.”

‘A savage blow to policing’

THEY are cuts described as the most savage blow in the history of policing.

As well as the estates review which will be revealed next month, Hampshire police is also preparing to axe 1,400 jobs as it attempts to save £70m.

Ruthless plans were put into place last year as the force prepared to tackle a 25 per cent cut in its budget.

Dozens of civilian staff have been placed at risk while some have already left.

While police officers cannot be made redundant, some are not being replaced.

Others aiming to work their way through the ranks have found a promotion freeze in place.

Hampshire is also reorganising how it operates, with command units merging and fewer managers.

Where the axe could fall