Police station opening times cut

Opening hours have been cut at Market Harborough Police Station’s front enquiry desk - after the force’s latest effort to save cash came into effect on Tuesday (May 6).

Leicestershire Police force have made a number of changes to the opening hours of front enquiry desks at stations across the county, including closing Lutterworth’s front desk completely.

The cuts and closures, which are part of the force’s plan to save £20m by 2016, were approved back in October but only came into effect this week.

The changes were approved by the Force’s Change Board on Tuesday, October 29, 2013, following a review of the service which aimed to ensure that police station opening times better matched demand.

The review discovered that Leicestershire Police had 17 front enquiry counters and footfall data revealed that less than one per cent of the population used this service with one person an hour on average walking through the door at some stations.

A police spokesman said: “These falling numbers are a result of the changes in custody provision and the increase in other methods of contacting the police such as email, beat surgeries, web chats, booking an appointment and social media. There are yellow telephones on the outside of all police stations that connect straight through to the Contact Management Department.”

Lutterworth’s front enquiry desk was one of three to close, with desks at Syston and Belgrave stations also closing.

Fourteen out of the 17 force’s front counters will have there numbers reduced as well, with the force saying that the move will save them half-a-million ponds.

Market Harborough’s front desk will now be open 10am to 4pm, Monday to Friday. It was previously open to the public from 10am-2pm and then again from 2.45pm-6pm.

Due to voluntary redundancy and the redeployment of staff there were no compulsory redundancies. Two new supervisor posts have also been created.

Superintendent Adam Streets said; “We hope the new opening hours will better match public demand and will ensure that our front counters are not staffed when no one visits. There are so many ways of contacting the police now, through phone, email, social media, web chats and beat surgeries, that it’s important that we adapt to meet those modern demands and ensure we offer a service fit for the future.”