DORSET Police are recruiting volunteers to operate public contact points in the wake of cuts to the force’s counter services.

The service has unveiled plans to open contact points at a number of different public locations in the coming months following the closures of the front desks.

As reported in the Echo, six front counters at police stations across the county will be closed at the end of 2015, including the front desk in Dorchester.

Now, police have unveiled plans to open the counters in a bid to continue engagement with the public and they are appealing for volunteers to work on the counters.

A pilot scheme of the counters will be launched at the Dorchester Library and Learning Centre and at Sherborne Library in June, and an open day will be held on Monday to give potential volunteers more information on the new roles.

The contact points are to be handled by Dorset Police volunteers who take on a different role to Counter Service Officers who currently operate enquiry office counter services. The volunteers will provide support and guidance to members of the public who wish to make enquiries or contact Dorset Police.

Inspector Mike Darkin, head of Dorset Police volunteer recruitment, said: “This is a fantastic volunteering opportunity, providing a public-facing and highly important service to the local community.

“I am looking for enthusiastic and dedicated volunteers to operate the contact points and provide such an important point of contact to the local community.”

The points will provide online services, telephone access to the non-emergency 101 line and crime prevention information and will be run in conjunction with Dorset County Council .

Paul Leivers, head of Community Services at Dorset County Council, said: “Dorset Library Service welcomes the move for police contact points at Sherborne Library and Dorchester Library & Learning Centre.

Libraries are accessible venues in the heart of local communities and the county council is keen to develop more of the libraries in Dorset as ‘community hubs’.

“The contact points will be staffed by specially trained volunteers who can answer common police enquiries. They will also be able to use the library service’s free internet terminals for access to police and council information.”

The open day at Dorchester Library and Learning Centre for potential volunteers will be held on Monday between 10am and 2pm, and the open day at Sherborne Library will be held from 10am until 2pm.

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