A DECISION to close Harrogate’s National Police Training College has cast doubt over the jobs of more than 180 people employed at the centre.
The National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA) said it had accepted the need to move away from the Victorian house it occupies on Yew Tree Lane in order to meet Home Office targets to reduce property costs by 50 per cent.
No final decision has yet been made on when it will leave the building, but the agency is already discussing how to dispose of the site and the possibility of moving training activities to one of the 11 other NPIA sites in the country.
A spokesman for the NPIA said: “It’s too early to speculate on the impact this will have on the staff at the college. No decision has been made yet about the staff working in Harrogate.”
Coun Jim Clark, a former cabinet member responsible for economic development at Harrogate Borough Council, said: “It’s a little disingenuous to suggest jobs won’t be lost if the college is closing down.
“I’m very disappointed. I’m very concerned about what will happen to the site, and the loss of a substantial number of jobs for Harrogate.
“I think it’s one of the few operations they have in the North, and it seems to me it’s always the North of England that suffers.”
Coun Clark added that he and several other councillors would be petitioning the Home Office against the move.
The decision to close the college in Harrogate, which trained more than 1,200 officers a year, is part of the process of phasing out the NPIA which is set to close in March 2012.
It is hoped that future sucessor organisations will benefit from the lower property costs and a more manageable starting point to continue the work of training the police service.
NPIA chief executive Nick Gargan said: “It is absolutely critical that the agency looks at how best it can use its resources to serve the police service given the very tough financial situation.
“We will now explore the best way that the NPIA and its successor bodies can continue to provide high-quality support to policing whilst giving the best possible value for money to the taxpayer.”