Call for public to fight police cuts

Councillors David O'Hara and Tony Lee who are campaigning to prevent the closure of South Shore Police Station
Councillors David O'Hara and Tony Lee who are campaigning to prevent the closure of South Shore Police Station
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FYLDE coast MPs are calling on the public to fight police cuts all the way.

It comes as a three-month public consultation began yesterday to give people the chance to have their say on Lancashire Constabulary’s police station closure plans.

Stations in Poulton, Cleveleys, Lytham and Freckleton will be sold off while front counters will close at Bispham, South Shore and Kirkham.

Local MPs are urging their constituents to take part in the consultation.

MP Paul Maynard’s constituency of Blackpool North and Cleveleys will be left without a police station.

He said: “I’d encourage every member of the local community to have their say and oppose the constabulary’s plans to deny them a police station.

“We will be delivering postcards to tell people what’s happening in the affected Cleveleys and Bispham areas.

“I’m meeting chief constable Steve Finnigan next week and will make my displeasure known.

“The proposals mean there will not be a police station in my constituency.

“We need to fight to make sure it doesn’t happen.”

Leaflets encouraging residents to take part in the consultation will also be delivered by Coun Andrea Kay, from Cleveleys Park ward.

She said: “I don’t think we should have cuts in the police. I’m fighting for our officers. They work so hard in our community.”

Residents in South Shore have already launched a campaign urging bosses not to close their police station to the public.

Gordon Marsden, MP for Blackpool South, said: “The Government have cut the funding far too deep.

“There must be no deterioration in police response times and it would need to be examined if front desks closed.”

Lancashire is set to lose 500 police officers and 300 police staff as the constabulary fights to save £42m over the next four years. The force will claw back around £1m a year running costs if the stations are closed and £4m could be raised from the sale of buildings.

In Lytham, Coun Tim Ashton has vowed to fight to save the town’s police station which will be let go once the lease runs out.

Fylde MP Mark Menzies said: “It’s vital all Fylde residents take part in the consultation. I’d like members of the public to ask what are the alternatives? Police visibility is absolutely key.”

Consultation will begin with police speaking to members of the public and conducting focus groups.

People will be able to post their views on a special discussion board on www.facebook.com/lancspolice or e-mail their comments to consultation@lancashire.pnn.police.uk. Telephone surveys will be carried out with residents in August.

Chief Supt Tim Jacques, from Lancashire Police, said: “We’ve looked carefully at visitor numbers at front counters to identify those which are used the most in order to limit the impact on local communities.”