'Selling police HQ would fund crimefighting'
A CANDIDATE hoping to become the region's first police and crime commissioner says he will sell off the current police authority headquarters if he is elected.
East Riding councillor Matthew Grove, who is standing for the Conservatives, announced the move at a full meeting of the council.
He said he would use money from the sale of the building in Hull's High Street to create a new crime prevention fund to help support projects by community groups.
Staff working for Humberside Police Authority are housed in Pacific Exchange in the heart of Hull's Old Town.
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The historic building was originally a trading hall for corn, flour and oil seed merchants based in High Street.
It was later converted into a private members' club before being acquired by the police authority, which holds all its meetings there.
Councillor Grove said all public bodies had a responsibility to look at ways of providing better services to the public while reducing costs.
He said this included examining ways of sharing the use of public buildings.
"If elected, I do not intend to spend time looking back at the wasted opportunities, such as the new £30 million police station and custody suite about to be opened in Clough Road just as Humberside Fire and Rescue Service is to rebuild its fire station opposite," said Councillor Grove.
"Instead, I believe now is the time to look forward. Now is the time for direction and leadership.
"So, my intention is to sell the present offices of the police authority and seek to share a more modest building with a local organisation, which would be in a central location, accessible for all the people of East Yorkshire and northern Lincolnshire.
"The public's money should not be tied up in an oak-panelled former gentlemen's club with deep carpets and leather Chesterfield sofas.
"It needs to be targeted at fighting crime and reducing the number of victims.
"In doing this, not only can costs be reduced for the commissioner's office but also those of the partner organisation."
Mr Grove said money raised from the sale would be used proactively used.
"Capital released from the sale will be used to create a community crime prevention fund to match fund capital projects brought forward from community groups such as parish councils and neighbourhood watch groups," he said.