Police chiefs say closure of police station front desks 'will not change how the areas are policed'
POLICE chiefs have acted to reassure residents that the closure of front desks at police stations “will not change how the areas are policed”.
Ormskirk Police station front counter will close on Thursday, March 29 along with others across Lancashire after a review showed that the “number of people use use the service continues to fall”.
Skelmersdale Police Station front counter service will change from being open from 9am to 8pm Monday to Sunday to being open 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday and 9am to 6pm on Saturday and Sunday.
Insp Martin Bishop, who has led on the review, said: “I must emphasise that the police stations themselves will not be closing and the closure of the front counter service will not change how the areas will be policed.
“Our review of the front counter service shows that usage continues to fall. Some of this is due to changes to processes such as immigration checks and some vehicle checks which are moving online, but in the main it is due to improved technology and greater use of phones as well as online reporting via our website.
"Members of the public will still be able to contact local officers, engage with local policing teams and gain the help and support they need."
Clive Grunshaw, Lancashire's Police and Crime Commissioner, said: "I want to reiterate that this decision will not change the way areas are policed, local policing teams will still be based and work in these communities.
"This was not an easy decision to make but years of shrinking budgets have meant Lancashire Constabulary have had to make savings of over £72 million since 2010, with an estimated £18 million in further savings still to find. The front counters which are closing serve as few as three members of the public a day but we will be able to make savings of around £1.5m. People have been voting with their feet for some time and we have to look at using our resources to meet the demand which is coming into the contact centre and moving online.
"Whilst closing front counters is not something we want to do, this is part of the ongoing work to meet the funding gap which we continue to manage, with the Government again failing to provide any extra money for policing in Lancashire in their latest funding announcement."
Staffing front counters currently costs Lancashire Constabulary £2.8m a year.
Front counters mainly provide a service for people to answer their bail conditions, sex offender registrations, immigration checks, handing over or collecting property and presenting car insurance as well as ‘meet and greet’ for visitors such as legal representatives.