Police stations to close - have your say

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THE public will be consulted over potential cuts to police stations across Lancashire.

As the axe looms over a number of the area’s services ,local people have been promised a say on the controversial money-saving plans.

While Burnley Police Station will not be affected by the measures, front desks at Brierfield and Padiham are set be closed and there are also plans to shut and sell bases in Whalley and Cliviger. Premises in Briercliffe, Worsthorne and Sabden are already on the market.

Lancashire Police has said the proposals are part of on-going work to make savings in the region of £42m. over the next four years.

Three months of consultation, starting on July 1st, will take place before the final decisions are made later this year.

Details of how people can share their views will be released soon and Assistant Chief Constable Andy Cooke said: “The Constabulary recognises the closure of any front counter, or indeed any police premise, is iconic for the public and will cause concern. This is why it has looked closely at visitor numbers in particular to identify those which are used the most to limit the impact to a potentially smaller number of people.

“We fully expect this will be a difficult discussion for us to have with the public and one that will be highly emotive, but there is the potential to save in the region of £1m. a year in running costs through the proposals set out in this review, and more than £4m. from the sale of the properties. These are significant sums of money. It will be vital for us to carefully consider how we strike the right balance between finding the savings while limiting the impact on the public and protecting officer numbers in what is an already constricting environment.”

A range of issues including opening hours and services provided were looked at before the recommendations were made last week.

The reviews showed that Padiham currently deals with an average of 0.9 visitors an hour and Brierfield 1.3, compared to Burnley’s 7.1. and Assistant Chief Constable Cooke feels these services could be used better.

“We believe that by closing the front desks which are currently underused and offering a standardised service in all of the remaining front counters will result in an improvement on the current position, which sees people being sent from one counter to another depending on the services they need.

“However, we recognise police station closures can cause anxiety and concern among local people which is why we are asking the public for their views to ensure we are taking these into account when making the final decision on closures later this year.”