A police base which was opened to fight crime on a Birmingham estate is to close at the end of this month because of cutbacks.
West Midlands Police has decided to shut the mini police station in Welsh House Farm, Quinton, after just two years as it tries to save money.
It comes at a time when it was revealed that crime in Quinton is on the increase and the area is losing officers.
The force was given the two-bedroomed flat above shops in Blandford Road for a peppercorn rent. At its height, 15 officers were based there, although it was not open to the public.
Residents were told of the closure during a meeting of Quinton Police Consultative Committee.
Jim Nicholl, committee chairman, said he was dismayed by the news.
He said: “I’m gobsmacked. It took the police three years to move in, they have spent money on it and now we are told it is being handed back.
“It’s absolutely unbelievable. We have supported the police through thick and thin and now this happens.”
Recently it was revealed that Quinton was experiencing a mini crimewave and in January had seen burglaries shoot up by 29 per cent with 18 burglaries committed that month.
Police revealed they had lost five officers who had been redeployed to other areas and were now down to just 15.
The issue was even raised in the House of Commons when shadow Home Secretary, Yvette Cooper, used it as an example of the effects of police cuts.
Police opened the Welsh House Farm base because the estate, which is mainly social housing, suffered from more crime than the rest of Quinton.
Cabinet member for housing, Coun John Lines, who oversaw the transfer of the flat, said he felt let down by the closure.
“I’m disappointed it isn’t going to be used for a police base after we went to all that trouble to secure it for them,” he said.
“But the demand for council homes is at all time high and it will be used for accommodating people in need.”
At the time councillors had a battle with police over the base because after giving it to the force officers then took two years to move in after a series of delays caused by red tape.
A West Midlands Police spokeswoman said: “The cost of maintaining an office which is not permanently staffed is not viable at a time when the force has to make considerable savings, over £125 million over the next four years.
“The base is not open to the general public and the service offered to the local community will not diminish as a result of this closure.
“Police have a good relationship with partners and the community in Quinton and will continue to engage and build upon these solid relationships.”