Residents urged to have their say on police cuts

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Residents are being reminded they have less than a week to air their views on plans to revise some police front counter services in the county.

A survey was launched on August 1st to gather public feedback about proposals to make changes to aspects of the force’s estate.

The Constabulary has looked in-depth at the properties it uses and the front counter services it provides to the public in some police stations to see whether anything can be done more efficiently to save the money.

Following its research, the force has outlined a plan to improve services being delivered at the busiest police stations in Lancashire while closing a number of other front counter desks. It also hopes to sell premises where public demand is limited, or where they are unoccupied and there is no public access.

The possible savings of such a move – up to £1m. annually as well as one-off sales of more than £4m. – will go some way to helping the force shave £42m. off its budget over the next four years.

The survey asks residents how they feel about possible front counter closures and their preferences for contacting police about non-emergency matters in future.

They are also asked about their previous experience of reporting matters to the police and for their ideas on alternative methods of saving money without closing front counters and buildings.

The survey closes on Wednesday and anyone who has not yet provided their views is being reminded this is their only chance.

Malcolm Doherty, chairman of Lancashire Police Authority, said: “It really is important residents who do have an opinion on these proposals take the time to respond to our survey and make their views known.

“The Police Authority is immensely proud of the relationship it has built with its communities. Although we have no choice but to find these steep savings over the next four years, we want local people to feel involved in the process and feel they are able to influence the force’s priorities for policing. After all, all our decisions - no matter how tough - are taken in the best interests in the public and to protect their wellbeing.

“We understand the proposals concerning the force’s estate are sensitive and are likely to be met with anxiety and it is for this reason we are urging people to take this final opportunity of making their views known.”

The force’s review looked at a broad range of issues relating to front counter services including opening times and working practices. It found 81% of the total footfall of visitors across the county is delivered at just 17 of the current front counters. The remaining 21 only deal with 19% of the total footfall and have been recommended for closure.

Lancashire Police Authority has previously stressed no decision will be made on the proposals until it has had a chance to review public feedback.

The survey is available at www.getintheloop.co.uk and on www.lancashire.police.uk.