BOXES of papers and equipment were moved out of Christchurch Police Station yesterday as the force closed its doors for the last time.

Officers only had a short distance to transport their gear however, as they moved into a new home in Christchurch Fire Station, Fairmile Road.

Their former base, a dilapidated office block in Barrack Road, is due to be demolished to make way for a major development spearheaded by the borough council.

Dorset Police says the move followed requests from Dorset County and Christchurch councils, which jointly own the ‘Bargates’ site, and will not affect its operations in the area.

John Jones, Assistant Chief Officer, said: “Following requests from Dorset County Council and Christchurch Borough Council, Dorset Police agreed to relocate their station from the Bargates site to a new station at Fairmile Road. “The new facility is integrated with the existing Christchurch Fire Station and is designed to enhance the excellent joint working between the two services.

“The changes fully support the council’s plans for the regeneration of the Bargates site and reflect Central Government’s objective to increase joint working between the police and fire services.

“All police officers and staff based at the former station have moved to the new facility, where they will continue to operate from.

“The move is the culmination of many years work between the councils and the police.”

The station has been closed to the public since March 2015, when it was among a wave of police facilities which ditched over-the-counter services in a cost-cutting drive.

The wider site includes the former magistrates courts and car park set behind and alongside the police station.

Proposals for development have been discussed by the town council in private sessions, including residential development, shops, and community and leisure facilities.

On the closure, Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner Martyn Underhill said: “Above all else, residents want to have a responsive police service that is able to meet future demands. With officers still based in and working from Christchurch, I am reassured that the policing service provided to those local to Christchurch and East Dorset should remain as usual.”

“I will continue to work with the force to ensure this is the case and I am keen to maximise opportunities to work more closely with partners in the fire service.”