Police to consult further on cuts

Dorset Echo: COST SAVINGS: Police and Crime Commissioner Martyn Underhill COST SAVINGS: Police and Crime Commissioner Martyn Underhill

FURTHER options for front office cover at police stations in Dorset is being explored as force chiefs try and save £500,000.

Front counter services will remain in Weymouth, Bournemouth and North Dorset it has been confirmed – but police chiefs are investigating how the service can be delivered elsewhere.

Dorset Police has been consulting on changes this autumn and the county’s Police and Crime Commissioner Martyn Underhill says there will be further public consultation early next year.

The proposals, which would save the force around £500,000, arose in the face of ongoing cuts to the budget.

A review of station desk enquiry offices identified that they are under-used and that some could be closed or see opening times reduced.

Mr Underhill said “When the force and I launched the consultation process in early October, I said that it was important to me that we listen to all of our communities about the proposals. This is why I’ve been meeting with residents, partner agencies and other key stakeholders to make sure that as many views as possible are captured.

“As a result of this consultation process, a number of alternative suggestions have been proposed and I’m keen that more detailed proposals are shared with the public and explored further.

“For that reason, the force will once again launch a public consultation process in the early part of 2014 in the hope that members of the public will share their views on the options available and help us make some very difficult decisions.”

Chief Constable Debbie Simpson added: “I can confirm that counter service provision will remain in Bournemouth, Weymouth and North Dorset.

“We are also developing opportunities to share services with partner agencies and these ideas are being explored in more detail.”

She said she wanted to stress that a change to counter service provision in a town does not equate to the closure of the station.

New chairman of the Dorset Police Federation Tony Tester said force chiefs were in a ‘difficult position’ as they try and find savings.

He said: “It's a sad fact that we've come to this because of government cuts and removing counter services is another step away from the community.”


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