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Saturday, 22 November 2014

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Cumbria police closing doors to public enquiries

Front counter police services across Cumbria are being closed with the opening hours of others cut.

Egremont police station photo
Egremont police station

From tomorrow, front counter services in Appleby, Maryport, Wigton, Keswick, Egremont and Millom will no longer operate. Others – at Brampton, Penrith, Cockermouth and Windermere – will go part-time, opening mainly in the morning.

The changes will mean just five stations will remain open to the public full-time in Cumbria – in Carlisle, Workington, Whitehaven, Kendal and Barrow.

The force says the move is part of ongoing budgeting to save £20 million by 2015/16. The changes to front counter services will save nearly £200,000 – a fifth of the £1m current annual running costs.

Temporary Deputy Chief Constable Michelle Skeer said changing technology meant there was less need for the public to use police front counters and most people “in non-emergency situations” got in touch by phone or online.

“The development of technology has reduced the need for the public to use police front counters,” she said. “New police computer systems are now in place so there are far fewer occasions where people are required by law to attend police stations, such as to present their vehicle documents, for example.”

Since the force launched public consultation into the plans last year, they said nearly 60 per cent of people had not visited a police station in Cumbria in the past year.

Nearly 20 per cent had visited once and 14 per cent two or three times.

“Some stations are currently visited by around seven people a day compared to other stations that have 70 to 80 visitors,” Mrs Skeer added. “This tells us that it is not financially viable or necessary to keep front counters open in some areas.”

She said they were doing what they could to protect frontline policing “as best we can”. They may join forces with other agencies in some rural areas that are some distance from a police station, she said.

The new opening hours will see Brampton Police Station open from 9am to 1pm, Monday to Saturday – it had been 8.30am to 4.30pm Monday to Thursday, and 8am to 4pm on Fridays. Penrith will also open from 9am to 1pm, Monday to Saturday. It had previously opened from 8am to 6pm, Monday to Sunday. Cockermouth will also open 9am to 1pm, Monday to Saturday. It had previously opened during the same hours as Brampton.

Have your say

I love these people who talk about having to cut police and volunteer, why pay anybody for doing a job lets work for nothing. I don't see any cuts in lazy house of lords or in mps. better still lets all jump on the expences wagon then we can all end up millionairs

Posted by boardman on 15 May 2013 at 16:04

We have to accept that the world is changing the majority of people are able and do chose to contact the police via telephone or internet. Less people require the front counter services and like it or not the cuts have to be made.
To those concerned about the loss of services are you aware that you can volunteer with the police either as a special constable (front line policing) or as a police volunteer who help run front counters or other community based jobs that need to be done.
Its something real you can do to help your community so maybe before we complain and comment on the police give it a go yourself see what its really like.

Posted by Anon on 2 May 2013 at 17:07

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