POLICE cuts campaigners have called for officers to remain in Lytham in the wake of a terrifying armed robbery.
the town faces completely losing its police station as part of a swathe of budget cuts across the Fylde coast.
Residents claim officers took too long to arrive on scene following Tuesday’s raid – at Peter Woodcock and Co – and they fear the situation will be even worse if the station is axed.
Lancashire Police said they were on the scene at the jewellers, on Clifton Square, within six minutes, but local councillor Ken Hopwood claims he beat uniformed officers there.
Coun Hopwood said: “I don’t think they were there in six minutes. I was told and went down and our local policeman was on the scene but he was off-duty and it was shortly after we arrived an officer turned up in a police van.”
A consultation on police station closures is currently underway and while it won’t result in a loss of police officers, Coun Hopwood fears it will contribute towards a feeling of unease in Lytham with the town’s police based in neighbouring St Annes.
He said: “I think everyone would agree a police station in any town is an advantage.
“Psychologically people feel more comfortable with a police station and vulnerable without one.”
And former supermarket manager Mark Bamforth, of Warton Street, agrees and said: “I think the robbery will unnerve quite a few people. We could do with more of a police presence and we definitely don’t want to lose the station.”
A petition against the station closure has attracted hundreds of signatures after being circulated around local shops.
A police spokesman said, “Guidelines set nationally require us to attend Grade 1 emergencies within 15 minutes and during the month of August we have had a 98 per cent success rate of response. Following the armed robbery at Woodcocks jewellers in Lytham officers were at the scene and in the surrounding area looking for the offenders within six minutes.
“Incidents of this nature are rare but when they do happen they require specialist officers who are not stationed at local police stations. The area of Lytham has dedicated neighbourhood policing officers as well as officers who patrol the area 24-hours-a-day, 365-days-a -year and there are no plans to change this.”