NORTHUMBRIA police denied it has plans to move officers out of rural locations and base them more centrally.

It comes after Northumberland county councillor Mark Mather raised concerns in a meeting last week.

Speaking at Wednesday’s meeting of the authority’s communities and place scrutiny committee, Cllr Mather said he had been made aware of proposed changes by a serving police officer.

The force has said there are “no plans” to make changes to the rural policing hubs. Cllr Mather, who represents the Wooler ward, had said any changes could increase the public’s fear of crime.

Following the meeting, a spokeswoman for Northumbria Police said: “As a force, we remain fully committed to providing the best possible service to our communities – and that includes to those living in rural areas.

“At present, there are no plans to close or make changes to the locations of our rural policing response hubs. On occasion, officers may work flexibly between the hubs so they can continue to effectively police the wider area depending on demand.

“This is nothing new or specific to rural policing – and is just one example of how we continue to be dynamic in our approach to fighting crime and keeping people safe. We are proud of the fantastic teamwork shown between officers, volunteers, partners and residents and will continue to do everything we can to serve our rural communities in the most effective way.”

Speaking on Wednesday, Cllr Mather had said: “I have been alerted by a local police officer to potential changes in policing, where response officers aren’t going to be based in all the stations, they’re going to be more centralised.

“This would include response officers moved from Berwick to Alnwick. I think this is potentially going to increase the fear of crime and the response people are going to get.
“If that does happen, it needs to come to the committee and it needs to be scrutinised.”