asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether, in compliance with his responsibilities under the Police (Grant) Order, 1951, he has considered the lowering of efficiency caused by the closing of Portslade Police Station; and whether he is satisfied that the qualification for grant will not be affected in view of the reduced police cover for this district.
I have no grounds for thinking that the closing of the police station, which is primarily a matter for the discretion of the police authority and the Chief Constable, has resulted in any lowering of the efficiency of the policing of the area. In the circumstances, no question of withholding the payment of police grant arises as a result of this rearrangement.
Is my right hon. and learned Friend aware that the closing of the only police station in this urban district council area is causing very considerable concern to the residents, and can he explain why this action was taken without any consultation with the urban council? Is this not a rather high-handed way of dealing with this matter?
As I informed my hon. and learned Friend, this is primarily a matter for the discretion of the police authority and the chief constable. I hope that all these authorities will have due regard to the feelings of, and the possible irritation caused to, smaller bodies; but I do not want to interfere further in what is their duty.