Cost-cutting measures considered by police force

Dorset Echo: CONSULTATION: Dorset Chief Constable Debbie Simpson and Police and Crime Commissioner Martyn Underhill CONSULTATION: Dorset Chief Constable Debbie Simpson and Police and Crime Commissioner Martyn Underhill

POLICE bosses are looking at different options to cover police stations’ front offices as they attempt to make £500,000 savings.

Following a review of station desk enquiry offices, bosses found they were ‘an under-utilised resource’ and proposed changes include the withdrawal of some station desk offices and reduced opening times at other locations.

Front desk services would be retained in Weymouth, Bournemouth and North Dorset it was confirmed last year – but police chiefs are investigating how the service can be delivered elsewhere.

They say money it is claimed will be saved – half a million – is the equivalent of ten front line officers or 17 police community support officers.

Dorset Police and the Police and Crime Commissioner’s office have been working together on a series of consultations with the public about the proposals over the past few months.

Police and Crime Commissioner Martyn Underhill said they had received ‘significant feedback’about the proposed changes. He added they were now considering a range of alternative suggestions.

Mr Underhill said that, following feedback, they would be looking to provide a front counter service in North Dorset.

He said: “The location of this service is yet to be determined and will be influenced by the availability of a suitable location and the level of demand.”

He added: “In addition to these proposals, we are keen to pursue joint agency initiatives.

“As a result of the first phase of stakeholder engagement, we are continuing to work with other agencies in the public sector to develop more effective partnerships that will enhance the availability of policing services in our communities with particular interest in sharing buildings.”

Chief Constable Debbie Simpson said that the proposed changes had generated a lot of local interest.

She said: “We are keen to hear from the public, elected members and partners about the revised proposed changes to public front counter service and I’d like to reiterate that no final decisions have been made.

“Other suitable alternative provisions will continue to be made available, including the telephone facility which will remain at all stations as a means for the public to make direct contact with the Force Command Centre.”

She added: “There will also be further promotion of the non-emergency 101 contact number and improved contact via the Dorset Police Website.

“We remain committed to the provision of local policing throughout the county. “ Feedback can be emailed to consultation@dorset.pnn.police.uk

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