Closing Police Front Desks. Have Your Say

Online survey to give residents chance to have their say

 AN ONLINE survey will give Lancashire residents a chance to have their say on the future of police premises and front counter services ahead of proposed spending cuts.

 The survey, which will be available from Monday 1 August, comes after the Constabulary considered a report outlining potential savings of up to £1million annually and one-off sales of over £4million.

 As part of on-going work to identify savings in the region of £42 million over the next four years, the Constabulary has been reviewing the properties it uses and the front counter services it provides in some police stations.

 The reviews, outline a plan to enhance the services available at the busiest stations across the county but to close a number of the front counter desks and to sell premises where there is limited demand from the public, where the public have no access, or which are unoccupied.

 Residents are being invited to give their views on proposals to close some front counters, their knowledge about the ways to access the Constabulary services and their preferences for contacting the police about non emergency matters in the future.

 People will also be asked about their experiences in contacting the police, their knowledge of the different ways to contact the Constabulary and where they think cuts could be made without closing some front counters and buildings.

 Chief Superintendent Tim Jacques said: “We know the closure of any front counter or police building will cause concern for the public but we feel it is vital that residents are able to have their say.

 “Over the coming months, we will have some tough decisions to make about the shape of local policing and the public's input into that decision making is vital. That’s why we are keen for people to complete the survey.

 ”We are committed to working with the public to ensure that the Constabulary continues to be known as a high performing force – one that reduces and detects crime, protects people and delivers high quality services. Clearly we already have some ideas of how we might achieve that but really would welcome the views of local people before we move forward.”

The Front Counters review has looked at a range of issues including opening hours, services provided to the public and working practices across the force and a number of recommendations are being made as a result of the findings.

 The review has found that 81 per cent of the total footfall of visitors across the county is catered for by just 17 of the front counters. The remaining 21 are dealing with only 19 per cent of the overall footfall and were recommended for closure as part of the review. No decisions will be made until the end of the consultation process and the Constabulary has considered all feedback from the public.

 The front counters that remain open will offer a standardised and consistent service to the public, unlike at present where people can potentially be sent to other police stations to access the service they need. They will not close for lunch, for training purposes or for any other reason outside of these hours so this will be a better service for the public.

Mr Jacques added: “Over recent years, we have extended our reach into the community and now operate out of almost 200 different bases across the county.  This means we rely less on the public coming to us. We are also looking to develop our on-line and digital services which will provide additional opportunities for the public to access services differently and this will continue as technology moves forward.”

 Residents will be able to give their views by logging on to www.lancashire.police.uk or www.getintheloop.co.uk. The survey will be available from Monday 1 August for one month until Wednesday 31 August. Anyone who does not have access to the Internet but would like to have a say can write to their local Divisional Commander.

 Lyndsay Milligan

Community Safety Officer

Western Division