Police station front counter to close

Lancashire Constabulary is having to save millions

The front counter at a local police station is to close permanently at the end of this month, as Lancashire Police look to save money.

The news that Colne Police Station front counter is to close will come as a blow for Pendle folk who saw Barnoldswick Police Station’s front counter closed at in January and Nelson Police Station’s opening times reduced.

Lancashire Constabulary has announced that the Craddock Road station will close its front counter on Thursday March 29th after a review showed that the number of people who use the service continues to fall.

Nelson Police Station will remain open Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm but will be shut at weekends.

The news comes after the closure of Barnoldswick’s front counter on January 31st.

Insp Martin Bishop, who led the review, said: “I must emphasise that 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. Some of this is due to changes to processes such as immigration checks and some vehicle checks which are moving online, but in the main it is due to improved technology and greater use of phones as well as online reporting via our website.”

Lancashire Constabulary have had to make savings of over £72m. since 2010, with an estimated £18m. in further savings still to find.

Staffing front counters currently costs Lancashire Constabulary £2.8m a year.

Clive Grunshaw, Lancashire's Police and Crime Commissioner, said: "I want to reiterate that this decision will not change the way areas are policed, local policing teams will still be based and work in these communities.

"This was not an easy decision to make but years of shrinking budgets have meant Lancashire Constabulary have had to make savings of over £72m. since 2010, with an estimated £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 £1.5m. People have been voting with their feet for some time and we have to look at using our resources to meet the demand which is coming into the contact centre and moving online.

"While closing front counters is not something we want to do, this is part of the ongoing work to meet the funding gap which we continue to manage, with the Government again failing to provide any extra money for policing in Lancashire in their latest funding announcement."

Front counters mainly provide a service for people to answer their bail conditions, sex offender registrations, immigration checks, handing over or collecting property and presenting car insurance as well as ‘meet and greet’ for visitors such as legal representatives.

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