THE plan to close the police station in Calne has caused a wave of anger across the community, which spilled over during a public meeting with the Police and Crime Commissioner on Monday.

Members of the public and councillors had been invited to meet PCC Angus Macpherson and Supt Chris Chammings of Wiltshire Police, and told them they were disappointed with the ‘lack of transparency’.

Between 50 and 60 people packed into the meeting, where Cllr John Boaler said most people in Calne were unaware of the closure until a petition to save the station was circulated by former councillor Mercy Baggs.

“Just a handful knew about it,” he said. “Was there not more police could have done to let people know that there were changes proposed?”

Mr Macpherson said that the discussion “wasn’t done behind closed doors”, although most people at the meeting said they had known nothing about it.

Under the force’s new Estates Strategy, the Silver Street station will be closed once a ‘visible and public space where officers and staff can work together for the public’ has been established.

Mr Macpherson said: “Sharing spaces with community hubs or the council means officers and staff will be visible and accessible.”

He explained that as officers work on mobiles and laptops, they are totally independent of an office, and said he wants police to work in coffee shops and libraries, as it will make them more accessible.

People at the meeting did not agree, saying it would be difficult for officers to work effectively or to give people privacy if they worked in public places.

Neighbourhood Watch member Mike Brandwood said: “A constable in the library won’t get much done, people are just going to chat to him.”

Supt Chammings said: “We are doing the best we can with the finances we have got to deliver the best possible policing.”

Cllr Glenis Ansell brought up concerns about rising crime, and the lack of a police presence in Calne. She said: “In Calne crime is rising, so how do you intend to deal with that? We have lost the pigs and pubs have been broken into.

“There have been more break-ins in the town – that isn’t more recording, it is more crimes.

Mr Macpherson said it was the reporting of crime that was rising, not the level of crime.

Mrs Baggs hit back, claiming: “We are aware of the needs of our town and you are the most police officers I have seen in Calne for a year.”