A north Shropshire town is down to its last beat bobby because of huge police spending cuts, it has emerged.
Ellesmere’s police station in Grange Road was home to as many as three full police officers as recently as 2010, but now there is just one – Constable Paul Crump. He serves the town with two community support officers, who have limited powers of arrest.
The news has prompted urgent calls from councillors for extra police manpower to be deployed in the town.
It has also sparked fears that other towns could be facing cuts as West Mercia Police battles to balance the books after being ordered to save £30 million by the Coalition Government.
According to the West Mercia Police website, Wem Town and Whitchurch South, West and North policing areas both have a mixture of five police officers, community support officers and special constables.
Ann Hartley, Shropshire Council member for Ellesmere, said: “It’s completely inappropriate and I can see them closing the station down because I was told it needs a refurbishment to satisfy disabled access legislation.
“If that’s right it’ll need money spending on it, so the writing could be on the wall.
“Having fewer police is a very retrograde step and I do worry about it.
“The police should consider sharing resources, like buildings, with other public bodies if it means there will be more money for manpower.”
Lincoln McMullan, chairman of the Ellesmere Chamber of Commerce, said: “I think it’s a disgrace. We pay our taxes and are entitled to have services like these.”
In a statement, West Mercia Police said decisions about the future staffing of local policing teams are in limbo until an elected Police and Crime Commissioner replaces the current police authority.
Chief Inspector Sarah Wagstaff said: “I very much appreciate and understand people’s concerns about their local officer covering a larger area.
"However, 24-hour response policing cover, provided by a separate and larger team, remains unchanged.”