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Thursday, 17 April 2014

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Cumbria police contact points might be slashed to just five

The number of front counters where the public can meet police at stations could be slashed from 17 to five across Cumbria in the latest wave of cost-cutting measures.

Stuart Hyde photo
Stuart Hyde

They would be available at just Carlisle’s Durranhill headquarters, Workington, Whitehaven and two stations in the south of the county under one option under consideration by the force.

Other ideas announced today include having these five front counters as well as part-time opening hours at a further five stations, including those in Cockermouth, Penrith and Brampton.

Other agencies such as councils or the fire service could also be used “to provide access to police services”.

Or the constabulary could make “better use” of mobile police stations and phones at police buildings so people can get in touch with officers.

The proposals, which have yet to be decided, are bound to prove controversial in the communities in which front counters could close.

Police say they are trying to save £20m by 2016 as part of spending cuts, adding the force spends £1m a year keeping front counters open.

A consultation period is underway and a questionnaire will be placed at front counters, be published at www.cumbria.police.uk and go to more than 2,000 people this week to get public opinions on the plans.

Chief Constable Stuart Hyde said: “We now have a significantly smaller budget so we must find ways of saving money that have the least impact on frontline policing.

“We currently spend around £1m a year on maintaining our front counter services – which equates to the amount we would need to employ around 30 police officers.

“With data showing that front counter visitor numbers are reducing considerably, it is only right that we look at how we can be more efficient.”

The counters are reception areas in police stations that the public visit for a range of reasons, such as speaking to an officer, providing documents or reporting lost and stolen property.

The force says the review will consider factors including how many people actually use the front counters.

It has also pointed out that due to new computer systems there are now “far fewer occasions” where people are required by law to present their vehicle documents in police stations.

Mr Hyde added: “During our last annual consultation we asked the public about contacting the police.

“We were informed that 58 per cent of the public preferred to contact us via the telephone in non-emergencies and 29 per cent think we should make greater use of electronic ways of contacting people.

“We are using this information to explore the different ways the public can contact police and access the services they need at a reduced cost, so getting local communities’ input is vital.”

The consultation period will end on May 31.

Some stations are also being sold but other bases opened up as part of a cost-cutting shake-up.

Have your say

Danleo, you are 100% spot on in what you stated.
Just wait until the financial system crashes, banks shut, ATMs not working, food flies off the shelves & doesnt get restocked. Its what some of us call `when it all hits the fan` (polite version)

Police Officers jobs are being replaced with security people. I am sure there is good reasons for that (a) financially cheaper and (b) when it all hits the fan, and the people take to the streets because they`re hungry, then the security staff wont be quite as loyal towards the people as what our boys in blue are.

Wake up police, fight for your jobs while you`ve still got the chance.
Can you not see what the govt are after doing: they want to PRIVATIZE THE POLICE (and also the NHS SERVICE)

To those who are saying: cut their numbers /close contact points, just remember it might be YOUR job next.

Posted by Joe on 27 May 2012 at 23:58

1 x chief, 1 x deputy, 2 x assistant chief constables, 3 chief superintendents, 4 x superintendents, 8 x chief inspectors, 9 detective chief superintendents, if you are talking about saving money why not get rid of half of these ranks are they all needed. Why must the junior ranks and civilian staff suffer all the time when cut backs and savings are mentioned.

Posted by Anon on 21 May 2012 at 13:26

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