DCSIMG

Closures will make police service better

The front counters in police stations in South Shore, Cleveleys (below) and Lytham (bottom) will close next week.

The front counters in police stations in South Shore, Cleveleys (below) and Lytham (bottom) will close next week.

  • by Elizabeth Broughton
 

IT will be better for the public when police front counters close - according to those responsible for shutting them.

Lytham, South Shore, Cleveleys and Garstang stations will all close to the public next week, but Lancashire Police insist the cost-cutting operation will result in a “better service”.

The force claims that although some residents may have to travel further, the remaining front counters will offer better opening hours and more services.

But campaigners who fought for the service are sceptical about the promise.

Coun Tim Ashton, who worked to save Lytham’s front counter, said: “They are trying to put a positive spin on a negative story.

“But at the end of the day the police have to make savings and I understand why they have had to make this one.

“The argument has to be the resources could be used more effectively to fight crime than manning the front desk, but it is a difficult argument.”

All four of the stations are remaining open, so police will remain stationed in the various towns but the public will no longer be able to make routine enquiries.

Lancashire Police needs to save £43m by 2015, and by shutting a total of 14 front counters on October 1 the force will save £386,000, with another £4.5m coming from the sale of 31 other police buildings and around £500,000 being saved in the running costs of those buildings.

Some campaigners were successful in saving their front counters, with seven across the county - including Poulton - being spared the axe.

But Chief Supt Sarah Oldham (inset) has insisted she will secure a better services for residents from the area’s remaining front counters.

She said: “We will be able to provide consistency and it will be a better service.

“People should not come across inquiry desks to find a note on the door saying it is shut.”

Blackpool’s front counter will be open 8am to 10pm, Fleetwood 9am to 8pm, with St Annes, Kirkham, Bispham and Poulton all open between 10am and 6pm, closing between 2pm and 3pm for lunch.

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