POLICE chiefs have denied claims that neighbourhood bases will be shut amid planned restructuring.

There are fears that bases used in East Brighton and in Hove will close, and officers and community support officers will instead have to operate from John Street in the city centre.

Sources inside the force have told The Argus they are concerned that communities including Rottingdean, Saltdean, and Patcham would no longer have officers working from bases in those areas.

“The neighbourhood base will be effectively closed down,” the source said.

The news emerged after leaked documents have caused “speculation” among officers and staff across the Brighton and Hove Division.

Police chiefs say that more funds will mean more officers and PCSOs on patrol across the city. But in an email sent to The Argus, one source said: “Effectively the entire workforce will meet in central Brighton and most of the city will not have a neighbourhood presence.

“The reason for doing this will be to have a highly visible presence in the city centre where more people will see them, this will sadly be at the neglect of reports and issues in the majority of the city.”

The source said the bases will be closed, and while at present there are three Sergeants and Inspectors on duty across the city, this will be cut to one of each.

Indeed, in an email reportedly sent by Superintendent Julia Pope, staff have been told that officers could all be set to attend John Street for briefings. Bases could be rebranded as “community hubs”.

The leaked email from Superintendent Pope also suggests that three duty Sergeants and Inspectors will be replaced with one.

The email read: “We will be operating duty Inspector and Sgt each day. This will give a clear line of command and prevent duplication of effort for supervisors.

“This will take into account ongoing activity, partnership meetings, etc, and allow for some resilience for supervisors.”

In the email, Superintendent Pope said she was “extremely disappointed” that documents with the future plans had been leaked.

The Argus source said: “As you can see from the tone of this email, it has been accepted that this will be the case and they are furious with the people who have read this… saying as much.”

But Superintendent Pope said: “The document that has been circulated is an early draft of potential options.

“We will not be looking to post anyone from their current bases into John Street.”

Her email said there would be collective briefings because “we are part of one team across the whole division.”

The force said: “Each ward now has a dedicated team of named PCSOs and we have used the uplift of staff as an opportunity to refresh our approach.

“This will allow us to increase high visibility patrols on a daily basis. The prevention teams will continue to operate and be based from community hubs at Hove and Hollingbury and John Street Police Station.”