OFFICERS in Highworth will use the town’s community centre as a temporary base when out on patrol after its police station closes.

Trustees from the centre in the Dormers have offered officers and staff free round-the-clock access to the building from September 3.

Highworth police station will close shortly afterwards as the crime commissioner C Angus Macpherson has decided it no longer meets the operational needs of the force.

Inspector Andy Bridge, of the Swindon North Community Policing Team, said: “Our officers and staff are briefed at Gablecross in Swindon at the start of their shifts, and that won’t change.

“Thanks to this generous gesture from the trustees of Highworth Community Centre, officers and staff who are in the Highworth area will be able to drop in at any time, night and day, to make use of the facilities.

“If a member of the public wants to contact Wiltshire Police they should continue to call 101, or 999 in an emergency. But if they are using the centre and happen to see one of our officers or staff then they can, of course, raise any issues or concerns with them.

“The centre could also be a handy location for a meeting between an officer or member of staff and a local resident.

“Under our community policing model, officers and staff no longer need to return to a police station to do paperwork.

“They can now do that, and more, whilst out and about, thanks to a major investment in mobile technology by the PCC.”

The old station on Newburgh Place will closed, secured, and offered for sale.

Regular police surgeries will continue to be held at the Podium.

Mr Macpherson said: “I am seeking to reduce the cost of the Wiltshire Police estate by 20 per cent by 2021, and it currently costs between £16,000 and £20,000 a year to keep Highworth Police Station open.Under the trustees’ management, the community centre is really buzzing and I’m delighted that officers and staff will be able to use it as a touchdown point.”