Policing shake-up

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A SHAKE-up of the way Whitby is policed will have to take place to deal with government funding cuts.

Shift patterns for officers at Whitby Police Station are being altered, two sergeants are being lost and the hours that the station in Spring Hill is open are set to change.

The number of sergeants covering beats in Whitby will be reduced from seven to five and some officers will become beat managers taking on more responsibilities.

Two sergeants will oversee policing in the town centre and the other three will cover the outlying rural areas from Danby and Castleton, the Esk Valley, Mulgrave, Goathland, Sleights and down to Fylingthorpe.

Instead of having four rest days in between shift patterns, officers will instead have three and the starts of shifts are being staggered to 7am, 3pm, 5pm and 11pm.

The changes come as North Yorkshire Police tries to find almost £9 million worth of savings in the next financial year.

Insp Mark Grange, who oversees policing in Whitby, said on the one hand it means more officers available at busy times but on the other there are times when resources will be stretched and they will have to rely on back up from Scarborough and Hambleton.

He said: “What this should do is give us more officers available at peak times because we can stagger the start times.

“For example on Friday and Saturday nights when we need people out on the streets it allows us to put 12 officers out at full staff.

“I have no doubt there will be times when we will be stretched but the chief inspector’s remit is to move resources across the whole force.”

Another change planned by police bosses is to open a police desk next month within the Whitby Tourist Information Centre building.

It will be called the Whitby Harbour Police office and will be staffed Monday to Friday, 10am to 3pm.

Whitby Police Station will continue to provide an operational base for officers.

Insp Grange added: “The concept was started a couple of years ago before I came.

“It will give us a local office in the town centre that will be used by the town centre beat managers and Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs)

“Ideally I do want it open seven days a week and ideally Whitby Police Station will be open but I can’t promise that will be the case.

“Between the two, that will be the priority in the town centre but that is still under consideration at the moment.”