Police office closure programme delayed

Dorset Echo: WE ARE LISTENING: Debbie Simpson and Martyn Underhill WE ARE LISTENING: Debbie Simpson and Martyn Underhill

PLANS to close some police enquiry offices in rural Dorset and reduce hours at other sites have been put on hold, it was announced today.

The decision by Dorset Police comes after feedback from communities.

No changes to counter service provision will be made until at least September 2015, the force and Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner Martyn Underhill said.

Mr Underhill said a commitment was made when consultation began last November to ‘carefully consider views.’

He added: “From the wide range of alternative suggestions and the strength of feeling that we have encountered, it is clear that the force and I need more time to take on board the information we have received.

“There is more work to be done before final decisions can be made and it’s important that this work isn’t hurried.”

The initial review of station desk enquiry offices had identified that they were an expensive and under-utilised resource. Figures show that one enquiry office in Dorset welcomed an average of just 5.2 visitors per day in 2012, despite being open seven hours a day, five days a week. At some stations, only a small proportion of visits related to policing matters.

The proposals could save in the region of £500,000 – the equivalent of 10 front line officers or 17 Police Community Support Officers.

In response to public feedback last year, it was announced that Dorset Police would seek to retain a front counter provision in Bournemouth, Weymouth and North Dorset and that joint agency initiatives would be explored.

Chief Constable Debbie Simpson said: “I can reassure members of the public that no final decisions have been made regarding station desk office provision in Dorset.

“We are aware that one single approach may not suit all parts of the county and different solutions may be required in different areas. As this detail becomes clear, there will be further opportunities for communities to provide the force and the PCC with their views and ideas for alternative ways to contact Dorset Police.

“However, Dorset Police is the fourth lowest spending force in England and Wales and is faced with a very challenging budgetary situation, so difficult choices will need to be made.

“We are committed to providing the best possible service while reflecting true demand and value for money.”

She said the force continues to ensure that there is a ‘policing footprint’ in every town and that suitable provisions are in place before to any enquiry office closure.

A change to counter service provision in a town does not equate to the closure of the town’s police station.

Recent surveys indicate that three-quarters of the public prefer to contact Dorset Police by telephone and improvements have already been made to the 101 non-emergency service. Work to improve Dorset Police’s online services is also underway.

Mr Underhill said: “I’d like to thank everyone who has contributed to the engagement process. Additional project work will now take place and I hope to provide a further update later this year.”

Comments (4)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

7:32am Wed 12 Mar 14

cosmick says...

Well at least the knee jerk reaction of shutting them all has slowed down, thata a start.
Well at least the knee jerk reaction of shutting them all has slowed down, thata a start. cosmick
  • Score: 6

10:31am Wed 12 Mar 14

The man with the badge says...

This is really good news. Not only for the communities but also for the staff who are employed. Perhaps if the PCC slimmed down his own staff structure, he could make this permanent ?
This is really good news. Not only for the communities but also for the staff who are employed. Perhaps if the PCC slimmed down his own staff structure, he could make this permanent ? The man with the badge
  • Score: 5

4:00pm Wed 12 Mar 14

Chalbury says...

"The initial review of station desk enquiry offices had identified that they were an expensive and under-utilised resource"

Reason...
1. The has been a progressive closure over a number of years. The bigger stations used to be open 24 hours where as the rest were open for the majority of persons, who needed face to face contact were able to attend at a time convenient to themselves.

2. Unreliable opening times - often you would turn up and they are shut.

3. If you need to attend a police station ie report a road traffic collision and you live in Lyme Regis - there is no 'Counter Service' provision any more. Pick up the yellow phone have 2 choices officer will come to your house (no time given for attendance) or go to Bridport - You have to go to Bridport. as you have to report the RTC within 24 Hours IN PERSON with your driving documents.Your get there and it is closed. Pick up the yellow phone at the front of the station - you get connected to Bournemouth and told to no one available.

4. Blaming that they are underused is an excuse brought on by the force itself - a reflection that management are detached from reality and society.

5. The PCC's office is sucking resources from the community. He stated that there will be no change until September 2015 - Utter rubbish - just look at what has happened in the rest of the county
"The initial review of station desk enquiry offices had identified that they were an expensive and under-utilised resource" Reason... 1. The has been a progressive closure over a number of years. The bigger stations used to be open 24 hours where as the rest were open for the majority of persons, who needed face to face contact were able to attend at a time convenient to themselves. 2. Unreliable opening times - often you would turn up and they are shut. 3. If you need to attend a police station ie report a road traffic collision and you live in Lyme Regis - there is no 'Counter Service' provision any more. Pick up the yellow phone have 2 choices officer will come to your house (no time given for attendance) or go to Bridport - You have to go to Bridport. as you have to report the RTC within 24 Hours IN PERSON with your driving documents.Your get there and it is closed. Pick up the yellow phone at the front of the station - you get connected to Bournemouth and told to no one available. 4. Blaming that they are underused is an excuse brought on by the force itself - a reflection that management are detached from reality and society. 5. The PCC's office is sucking resources from the community. He stated that there will be no change until September 2015 - Utter rubbish - just look at what has happened in the rest of the county Chalbury
  • Score: 4

3:50am Thu 13 Mar 14

westbaywonder says...

Debs dos not look very happy, maybe a bad hair day. LOL
Debs dos not look very happy, maybe a bad hair day. LOL westbaywonder
  • Score: 1

Comments are closed on this article.

click2find

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree