POLICE chiefs have defended controversial proposals to axe Fylde coast police stations.
Top cops for Blackpool, Wyre and Fylde said the closures would save frontline staff.
Chief Supt Richard Bayly of Northern Division, which covers Wyre, said: “Over the last 18 months the constabulary has conducted reviews into every facet of our business.
“If we choose to keep stations open we have to find the savings elsewhere and one station costs the same as 20 police officers.”
Chief Supt Bayly said to keep Poulton police station open it would cost £185,000 in maintenance fees.
He said: “The reason officers have been deployed to Fleetwood and not Poulton is because the building needs a lot of work.
“It is also not as big as Fleetwood so it does not suit the purpose.
“It is not ideal and if I had the money to build a central unit in a more suitable location I would – but the money just isn’t there.
“I want to make the point though that this report is not final - the end decision will be made after public consultation.”
Chief Supt Richard Debicki, divisional commander for Blackpool and Fylde, said the closures would not affect police operations.
He said: “We recognise police stations are a real important and iconic location for members of the public but we need to look at the best use of public money.
“The means of contacting the police now are very different than when police stations were first developed. All community beat managers can now be contacted via e-mail or through the force website.
“There is no planned impact on response times and officers will still be out on the streets.”
Police chiefs have produced statistics showing the average number of visitors to police stations.
South Shore had 3.4 visits per hour, Bispham three Kirkham two, Lytham 1.9, compared with the 7.6 at Bonny Street.
Poulton had three, Cleveleys 1.7 compared with 3.6 at Fleetwood.