Epsom police base to close doors
Epsom will lose its community police hub when the local police centre shuts down later this year.
After 24 years, the Epsom Community Policing Centre will permanently close its doors in December when the lease for its office expires to make way a new development.
Health and disability organisation Ranfurly Care Society, which owns the building on the corner of Ranfurly and Manukau Roads, did not allow police to renew its lease.
Community volunteers who worked at the centre have been left scrambling to find a temporary location to work after police confirmed they will not be continuing their lease.
The policing centre was opened in 1992 and was staffed on weekdays by a team of volunteers.
The centre faced changes in June this year after new Health and Safety legislation meant the centre couldn’t open without a sworn-in police officer on site.
Despite being temporarily closed to the public since the health and safety reforms, the centre still managed to operate three times a week with the Epsom Community Constable working on site.
It also became a base for 160 Neighbourhood Watch groups in the area.
Epsom Neighbourhood Watch secretary Carolyne Jackson says the groups are unsure what is going to happen to the Epsom base in the future.
‘‘At present we have a degree of uncertainty about the future of the existence of a local community centre in Epsom,’’ Jackson says.
‘‘We have no word from the police at this stage as to where our future lies.’’
Jackson says the volunteers have planned to hire out a room at the Epsom Community Centre as a temporary office until police advise them on an alternative.
Maureen Gribble has volunteered managing the centre since it opened and says it has become a face for police in the community.
‘‘It contributes to a sense of safety in the area and they feel like they have a direct line to a particular face in the police.’’
The volunteers also produce a monthly community policing newsletter since the centre was opened.
The newsletter is distributed to 6000 homes and local business.
Officers at Newmarket Police Station have offered a room in the Newmarket headquarters for volunteers to keep producing the publication.
A temporary policing centre will be run out of Epsom Community Centre starting on February 1. It will be open on Monday, Wednesday and Fridays, between 10am and 1pm, at the Campbell Room.