Changes to police front counters
On Thursday 29 March, Bispham, Clitheroe, Colne, Leyland, Ormskirk, St Annes, Darwen and Waterfoot front counters will close. This comes after a review showed that the number of people who use the service continues to fall.
Poulton-le-Fylde, Kirkham and Barnoldswick front counters closed on 31 January as part of the review, which will also see a change in the opening hours of those front counters that remain open.
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.”
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.”
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.