Canteen cops it as Hanley bobbies eat elsewhere
BOBBIES working in the city centre will no longer be able to get a hot meal at the police station.
The canteen at the Hanley station will serve its last meals on Friday before being turned into office space.
Staffordshire Police says the decision has been made because less people are using it, so keeping it open is not worth the maintenance costs.
Officers will instead be provided with vending machines and a basic kitchen.
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The canteen was not subsidised by the force and catering staff were brought in from an outside company.
A spokesman for the force said: "The decision to close the canteen at Hanley is as a result of a continued reduction in demand for the facilities.
"While the force does not subsidise the canteen, it is responsible for the utility bills and maintenance of the kitchen equipment.
"These are the costs that will be saved alongside the opportunity to use some of the space currently dedicated to the canteen as office space in the future.
"We are taking the opportunity to provide the staff working from Hanley with new modern facilities which will include basic kitchen facilities, vending machines and coffee machines which will be available around the clock, rather than the limited hours currently covered by the canteen.
"The kitchen staff involved are employed by an outside company rather than the force itself. Therefore we can't comment on the future of the small number of staff affected."
Retired Staffordshire officer Nigel Gunn, below, said changes to shift patterns meant less officers would have been able to use the canteen.
He said: "I'm not surprised it's closing. When I first started every little station had a canteen of some kind, but over the years they disappeared one-by-one.
"There wouldn't be as much demand for the Hanley canteen because shift patterns have changed. If you are a bobby working shifts the canteen wouldn't normally be open when you're on duty anyway, except if you're on a day shift. It would mainly be used by those in office roles doing nine-to-five.
"It does make it difficult for officers to eat while on duty because they get criticised by the public if they are seen going in into a supermarket or takeaway to get something."
Andy Adams, chairman of Staffordshire Police Federation, said: "The canteen was not getting the use from staff. The officers on duty don't have the luxury any more of being able to sit in the canteen to eat a hot meal. They all eat on the go, or grab a quick sandwich.
"It is nice to have a hot meal, but given the demands of the job, most times they would be called out to an incident half way through.
"The days have gone when there were lots of office staff who kept the canteen going."