'No change' vow as police station front counters to shut in Bispham and St Annes
Closures to the front counters at some police stations will not change the way officers work to keep communities safe, residents have been told.
Police chiefs have moved to reassure people with more public inquiry desks set to shut later this month.
Bispham and St Annes are among eight stations across Lancashire to lose their front desk on March 29.
It follows the closure to the public of Poulton and Kirkham stations on January 31.
Residents have been given several weeks’ warning of the impending changes after Lancashire Police was criticised in January for announcing the closures at Poulton and Kirkham just hours before. Police later apologised for the communication blunder.
Insp Martin Bishop said: “The police stations themselves will not be closing and the closure of the front counter service will not change how the areas will be policed.
“Our review of the front counter service shows that usage continues to fall.
He said technology was a key reason for the drop in footfall, adding: “Members of the public will still be able to contact local officers, engage with local policing teams and gain the help and support they need.”
Police and crime commissioner Clive Grunshaw said: “This was not an easy decision to make but years of shrinking budgets have meant Lancashire Constabulary have had to make savings of over Â£72m since 2010, with an estimated Â£18m in further savings still to find.
"The front counters which are closing serve as few as three members of the public a day but we will be able to make savings of around Â£1.5m.”
Staffing front counters currently costs the force Â£2.8m a year.
Front counters mainly allow people to answer bail, sex offender registrations, immigration checks, handing over or collecting property and presenting car insurance.
Which stations are open to the public?
The revised public opening hours for Fylde coast police stations are:
Blackpool - 8am-8pm (Mon-Fri); 9am-6pm (Sat/Sun)
Fleetwood - 9am-5pm (Mon/Fri), Closed (Sat/Sun)