NORTHUMBRIA Police has been accused of “selling off the family jewels” after closing historic Jarrow Police Station.
The station, opened in Clervaux Terrace, Jarrow, as a combined police station and court in January 1930, has been boarded up as part of an efficiency drive by the force.
Although a spokesman maintained there will be no change to the standard of police services in Jarrow, the decision to close the station after 83 years was attacked by an ex-serving policeman in South Tyneside.
The retired officer said: “Jarrow Police Station is an iconic building and I would hate to see it simply demolished.
“It is a part of old Jarrow, and after losing so many old buildings in the town, I don’t want to see it flattened.
“Northumbria Police seem to be getting rid of so many buildings at the moment and I feel the the closure of Jarrow Police Station is a case of selling off the family jewels.
“But it also goes against the idea of having police officers based in the community they serve. I think the roof is ok and the building in generally good order, so I don’t see why it should be knocked down.”
The station once served as a county court and was also used as a police cadet training centre for the former Durham County Constabulary, until 1950. Both CID and uniform beat officers were based in the building up until a few years ago.
But the station has not been open to the public for eight years and was latterly the base for a police armed response unit.
Jarrow historian and photographer Paul Perry, who wrote about the town police station in his book, Jarrow Through Time (2008), said: “I’m very saddened at the closure of Jarrow Police Station.
“It’s been part of the town for more than 80 years and it would be awful to lose another old building in Jarrow.”
A spokesman for Northumbria Police said: “The force is looking for ways to make the most efficient use of all our resources.
“This includes releasing buildings that are expensive to run and do not provide a service to the public.
“Jarrow Police Station has not been open to the public for more than eight years, and a decision has now been taken to close it.
“There will be no change to the service provided to the public in the area.
“The force is maintaining a commitment not to close public-facing facilities, unless there is a better alternative to what we have – this includes putting police officers in places that are convenient for the public.
“There is no intention to reduce opening times of police stations available to the public, unless there is a better alternative.”